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Michael Clarke blasts Australia selectors for picking Green ahead of Smith in game v West Indies

Sydney, Oct 7 (IANS) Former Australia skipper Michael Clarke has flayed his country’s selectors for including young allrounder Cameron Green, who is not in the 15-member squad for the T20 World Cup, in the opening match of the two-match T20I series against the West Indies, while Steve Smith — who is in the World Cup squad — was not included in the playing XI.

Australia won the opening match against the Caribbean side by three wickets in Gold Coast on Thursday with Green scoring just 14 as opener.

Clarke, a member of the ODI World Cup-winning side in 2007 who later led Australia’s victorious campaign at the 2015 event at home, indicated Cricket Australia’s (CA) selection was going awry ahead of the T20 World Cup at home.

In addition to Smith being dropped, skipper Aaron Finch, who opens the batting, came in to bat at No.4. However, Finch later revealed following his fine half-century in a winning cause that it was his decision to drop down the order so Green could bat at the top.

Green recently caught the eye following two half centuries in the three-match T20I series in India.

The game against West Indies also saw Mitchell Marsh return to the setup only as a batter. Marcus Stoinis will return for the three-match T20I series against England in Perth from October 9.

“My theory is this, Mitch Marsh wasn’t bowling so they had to pick Cameron Green over Steve Smith to give us an extra bowling option but what they’re (selectors) doing is shooting themselves in the foot at the moment,” Clarke was quoted as saying on the Big Sports Breakfast.

“The most important thing right now is we prepare for this World Cup… so Steve Smith’s form in Twenty20 cricket over the last couple of years hasn’t been as good as he would like. He’s got to play. He’s got to play and he’s got to own his role, is he going to bat 4, is he going to bat 3? You’ve got to let him play, so even it if it means you play one bowler short in these games, I still think you’ve got to allow your players to play,” added Clarke.

Clarke added Australia need to back every single player in the World Cup squad.

“I think they’re preparing for both scenarios. If Marcus Stoinis is fit, he’s in the World Cup squad … If Stoinis is fit then Cameron Green can’t come into the squad, so that’s their plan A,” he said. “If Stoinis is not fit then Cameron Green will come into the squad, so they’re trying to have their cake and eat it — OK while’s Stoinis isn’t playing get Cameron Green some cricket and bring him in but what they’re doing is burning Smithy (Steve Smith) by doing that because he’s not getting any cricket,” opined Clarke.

“(It looks as if) if Cameron Green is in the squad he will be in the starting XI. That tells me they’ve made a mistake,” he said. “They should have picked him in the squad. Again, with Mitch Marsh they want him to bat at number 3, so Smith is going to be the one to bat at number 4, let him play these games, let him play every game so he goes into the World Cup at his best. He will find a way to make runs, he’s too good a player in any format, especially at a World Cup,” added Clarke.

–IANS

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