Toughen up! Clarke warns Aussies 'nice guys don't win'

Michael Clarke (Getty)
Michael Clarke (Getty)

Sydney - Former captain Michael Clarke has slammed attempts to improve Australian cricket's image in the wake of a cheating scandal, insisting the national team "won't win a game" without its infamous abrasive attitude. 

A scathing independent review into the ball-tampering scandal released last month revealed a bullying culture within the sport and criticised cricketers for "playing the mongrel" against opponents. 

In response, the team produced a so-called Players' Pact, urging Australians to "compete with us, smile with us, fight with us, dream with us". 

Test captain Tim Paine has also spoken of shaking opponents' hands before a series and respecting the umpires, in stark contrast to the Australians' previous conduct. 

However, the nice-guy approach did not sit well with Clarke, who said winning should be Australia's top priority, regardless of what anyone thought. 

"Australian cricket, I think, needs to stop worrying about being liked and start worrying about being respected," he told commercial radio. 

"Play tough Australian cricket. Whether we like it or not, that's in our blood." 

Clarke said fans wanted victory more than they wanted a likeable team and Australia's winning legacy was built on its hard-nosed attitude. 

"If you try and walk away from it, we might be the most liked team in the world, we're not going to win shit," he said. 

"We won't win a game. Boys and girls want to win." 

The cheating scandal involved Australian players using sandpaper to alter the flight of the ball in a Test match against South Africa last March at Cape Town's Newlands Stadium. 

Coach Darren Lehmann quit in the wake of the controversy and then-captain Steve Smith, deputy David Warner and batsman Cameron Bancroft received lengthy bans. 

The affair also claimed the scalps of CA chief executive James Sutherland, chairperson David Peever and team performance boss Pat Howard. 

The Australians have endured a dire run of form since Cape Town, losing 17 matches out of 24 in all formats. 

They face a tough home Test series against top-ranked India starting in Adelaide on December 6.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Rugby
42% - 8770 votes
Cricket
11% - 2232 votes
Football
19% - 4014 votes
Athletics
2% - 513 votes
Boxing
1% - 186 votes
Cycling
2% - 483 votes
Golf
5% - 1024 votes
Motorsport
8% - 1767 votes
Tennis
3% - 713 votes
Water sports
1% - 195 votes
American sports
1% - 257 votes
MMA / WWE / UFC
3% - 651 votes
Vote