Taylor praises Clarke for putting team ahead of personal milestones

Sydney, Jan 5 (IANS) Former Australian captain Mark Taylor Thursday praised Michael Clarke for putting the team before his personal milestone during the second Test against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) here.

Taylor praised Clarke for making a bold declaration instead of pursuing Mathew Hayden’s Australian record of 380 or Brian Lara’s world mark of 400 not out.

‘He’s a guy who loves the game of cricket and I don’t think people have quite understood that with Michael,’ Taylor was quoted as saying by The Age.

‘He had an opportunity to make the world Test record today, there’s no doubt about that. He needed another 72 to break the record. He could have done that and still had two days to bowl India out and win this Test match,’ said Taylor.

Clarke declared the first innings at 659 for four when he was not out on 329 against India in the second Test here Thursday. Clarke became the first cricketer to score a triple century at the SCG, which is hosting its 100th Test match.

Clarke was five runs shy of Mark Taylor and Don Bradman’s 334 when he selflessly declared the Australian innings. Taylor, who scored 334 not out against Pakistan in Peshawar in 1998-99, had declared the innings as a mark of respect not wanting to surpass Bradman.

Taylor felt the cricketing world saw a new side of the Australian captain, who was selfless and for whom the team was the priority ahead of personal goals.

‘He could have achieved both goals but what he wanted to say is ‘yes, I want to do well myself, every player does and that’s human nature, but first I want to captain a side that’s going to win’. A lot of people focused on the negatives of Michael Clarke, but now he is the main man, I think we’re starting to see the real Michael Clarke,’ he said.