SYDNEY: World Cup winning Australian skipper Michael Clarke finally broke his silence on the criticism he received after announcing his retirement during the recent Ashes series loss in England.
Both former team-mates Andrew Symonds and Matthew Hayden publicly questioned Clarke’s leadership in August and Clarke has used his “Ashes Diary 2015″ to hit back.
Clarke also slammed former Australia coach John Buchanan, taunting him for never playing for his country and saying “even my dog Jerry” could have had similar success.
“Andrew Symonds went on TV to criticise my leadership. I’m sorry but he is not a person to judge anyone on leadership,” Clarke wrote of his former team-mate.
“This is a guy who turned up drunk to play for his country. It’s pretty rich for him to be throwing rocks.”
The pair were close friends at the beginning of the former Australian captain’s career, however, as Symonds’ behaviour deteriorated and Clarke entered the leadership ranks, they quickly fell out.
Symonds eventually had his contract cancelled by Cricket Australia in 2009 for breaking a drinking ban while in England.
Clarke, 34, also hit back at Hayden’s assertions he refused to field at bat-pad early in his career.
Hayden claimed he heard Clarke tell Ricky Ponting he would “hand back (his) baggy green” if he was forced to put on the helmet and field in close.
However, Clarke says his record speaks for itself.
“I think I’ve shown over the past 12 years how much I’ve valued representing my country and how much my 389 baggy green means to me,” Clarke wrote.
“If Ricky (Ponting) had asked me to jump off the Harbour Bridge, I would have jumped. I loved playing for Australia that much.”
But Clarke saved his biggest criticism for former coach Buchanan.
“I don’t think John knows a thing about the baggy green (cap), having never worn one,” Clarke said.
“He’s still living off the fact that he coached a team that anyone, even my dog Jerry, could have coached to world domination.”
In August, Buchanan criticised the culture of the Australian cricket team under Clarke’s captaincy.
“Players like Steve Waugh, Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting and others really tried to make the Baggy Green culture something special but I could sense it was under threat and under Michael’s captaincy I can sense it has disappeared a bit and that disappointed me,” he told News Corp Australia.
“There were times when I felt Michael did not understand or did not want to understand.”