Stuart Clark has been unable to escape Glenn McGrath-like descriptions over the past couple of years, but this season the tag will be even harder to lose as he steps into the retired bowler’s position.
Clark has had a full off-season to prepare for the daunting promotion and he will work with Brett Lee to cover the loss of the world’s most successful fast man.
At 31, Clark is mature enough to deal with the extra exposure and responsibilities that have come with his hard-earned but dramatic rise.
His debut came in South Africa in 2006 and nine Tests later he is the country’s second-most important bowler behind Lee, who has appeared in 50 more matches.
Twenty-six Ashes wickets at 17.03 confirmed his capabilities and he is confident the gaps in experience will not show during the Test series against Sri Lanka and India.
“For me and Brett that won’t be a big problem,” he said. “The big issue is that Glenn won’t be there. He’s gone, it’s me and Brett and whoever else is in the team and we have to go out and do a job. How many games we’ve played is irrelevant, as long as we do our job well and create opportunities,” he explained.
Ricky Ponting also expects the New South Wales duo to form a productive combination as the spearhead and support.
“Brett and Stuey work really well together,” he said. “Stuart has been a really steady bowler over the last couple of years and Brett will hopefully be back at 100%,” he added.
Lee has recovered from ankle surgery that ruled him out of the World Cup and will make his return at the Twenty20 World Championship.
With a fit Lee onboard, Ponting is confident his new-look collection can create problems in spite of the retirements of Shane Warne and McGrath.
“Throw someone in like Mitchell Johnson and Shaun Tait,” he said, “and you’ve got a pretty menacing attack even with Warney and McGrath out.”
Johnson’s pre-season has already involved a ten-day trip to India where he worked with the bowling coaches Dennis Lillee and Troy Cooley.
The 2006-07 campaign was testing for the left-armer Johnson, who started strongly on one-day tours before being 12th man throughout the Ashes and left out of the World Cup starting sides.
With Australia facing a crammed schedule over the next 18 months, Johnson is preparing for an opening and hoping to make his Test debut.
Source:Cricket NewsMore on:Australia, Glenn McGrath, Stuart Clark
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Thursday, August 30th, 2007 and is filed under General, Cricket.
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