Clarke to stay at No 5 for good of team

GREG BUCKLE
Last updated 19:02 21/02/2013

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Australia captain Michael Clarke says promoting himself to No.4 might be good for him personally but for the overall balance of the side he shall remain at No.5.

Australia's four-Test series against India starts in Chennai on Friday with Clarke in the form of his career after scoring 1595 runs in 2012. It's the fourth-highest tally in Test history for a calendar year.

Captain/selector Clarke's own batting position in the order isn't the only one under scrutiny with former opener and vice-captain Shane Watson preferring to bat at the top of the order but being told to stay at No.4 for the present time.

Clarke says following Australia's 3-0 sweep of Sri Lanka in January plus Ed Cowan's strong form in the two tour matches in India, selectors have stuck with the Cowan/David Warner opening combination with another former opener Phil Hughes at No.3.

"In regards to the batting order, I don't think anybody's restricted to a certain position," Clarke told reporters on Thursday.

"It's great everybody in our top four has opened the batting for Australia. We have plenty of options there and it really means we should be very good against new-ball bowling.

"Watto will have success no matter where he plays.

"It's about the team winning.

"If that means Watto opens the batting, we'll make that call.

"Right now we think it's best for him to bat at four for the team.

"Ed Cowan has played beautifully at the start of this tour and done everything in his power to keep his position.

"Dave Warner had a fantastic Australian summer and Hughesy has done really well."

Clarke said he had spoken with coach/selector Mickey Arthur about going up the order as Australia attempt to rebuild following the retirements of Mike Hussey and Ricky Ponting.

"Again the result is what we think is best for the team. It can't be about the individual player," Clarke said.

"Would it be better for me to bat higher? Personally it might be because I get in earlier, I get to face the new ball.

"But the decision is nothing to do with me. The same as it's nothing to do with Watto in regards to opening the batting.

"We think it's the right batting order to help us win this Test match."

Australia team: Michael Clarke (capt), Ed Cowan, David Warner, Phil Hughes, Shane Watson, Matthew Wade, Moises Henriques (on debut), Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell (12th man). 

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- AAP

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