Maxwell on how to stop Maxwell: Change the rules, put 10 on the fence!
Q. Glenn, just the celebration when you made the hundred, how much of it was just a weight lifted off your shoulders, I guess?
GLENN MAXWELL: Yeah, it was a massive weight, and obviously having Watto sort of — he’s been there for me over the last couple weeks. It was a tough couple weeks, but he’s been there through thick and thin, and yeah, just shared a little special moment with him out there. Yeah, hopefully it sort of opens the floodgates a little bit and I can stop getting out in the 90s.
Q. How much fun was it? You were hitting to all parts of the ground?
GLENN MAXWELL: It was a lot of fun. It was nice having a good wicket to play on out there, and the top order served up absolutely beautifully for us. It was basically, I suppose, the blueprint for what we should probably allow, one-day gambling. The top order did a great job and served it up for us.
Q. What did you mean it’s been a tough couple of weeks? You’ve been making runs pretty consistently, haven’t you?
GLENN MAXWELL: Oh, just off the field. Off the field.Q. Michael, are you pleased with your innings today and how you got things going?
MICHAEL CLARKE: I would have liked a few more, but yeah, it was nice to spend some time in the middle. I thought I’d been batting pretty well at training, so it was nice to contribute when the team needed me.
Q. And just I know you obviously played on for rest of the match, but did you have any tightness there at any point?
MICHAEL CLARKE: No, I felt fine. I felt fine. Just the old age. Apart from that, all good.
Q. Can I ask one question about Shane Watson? Is it confusing for the team at all why Shane wasn’t there in Perth and was back today?
MICHAEL CLARKE: I don’t think so then. I’m not going there. The selectors pick the 11 players, and my job is to try and get the best out of the 11 players. No chance am I getting hold of that hook. I thought the selectors obviously made it pretty clear, and I tried to make it clear at the toss of the coin that horses for courses in regards to selection today. They went for the extra experience with Watto in the bowling department only playing two frontline fast bowlers, so yeah, that was a big part of why they made that call. But good question.
Q. Michael, a lot was said, a lot was spoken, a lot was written about you and your fitness and form. How hard was it to conquer a professional battle for the team as well as for yourself?
MICHAEL CLARKE: Well, today it didn’t feel like a battle. Getting on the park for the first time a month ago was the conquering for me, walking out and playing again, club cricket was the conquering, knowing the work that I’d put in after having surgery, I was able to go back out and play this great game again. Yeah, like I’ve said over the last couple of press conferences I feel like I’ve been hitting the ball well in the nets. I needed some time in the middle, and I guess I was hopeful that my experience and my time at the highest level was going to allow me when the team needed me to stand up and score some runs. Like I say, I’m disappointed I didn’t make a big score, make a hundred, but it was nice to be able to contribute.
Q. Michael, what did you make of Watson’s performance in general? Did you think he seized his opportunity certainly with the bat?
MICHAEL CLARKE: Oh, I thought he played really well, yeah. I think his batting was how we know he can bat. He’s got amazing power, and I think he played a big part in helping set the game up, that partnership with Maxie and him, and then he held his nerve under pressure, I guess, with the ball, as well. I think that’s — that was a real test for us out there today. I think as games continue to move forward and you get into the knockout stage of this tournament, we’re going to be under pressure, and I thought the way all the bowlers held their nerve today was exceptional.
Q. Michael, has it been a positive the past couple of games that after a pretty hectic performance in Auckland that you’ve established a batting order that looks like it’s going to be able to hold relatively stable for the rest of the tournament, irrespective, I suppose, of who’s batting at 6?
MICHAEL CLARKE: Again, it’s the squad that wins you tournaments. It’s not just the 11 players. You know, we had a completely different team in Perth, and we made a world-record score. I think whatever 11 players the selectors decide to pick for the conditions against the opposition, everyone will be ready to play. The training — our training has been exceptional from everybody in the squad. Everyone is waiting for an opportunity. If George Bailey comes in, he’s been creaming them in the nets, batting really well. If Pat Cummins gets another opportunity, he’s bowling beautifully. I think everyone is ready to go. It’s just about opportunity, and it’s about the selectors picking what they feel is the best 11, and I’m confident that we can — if we can perform at our best, we can beat any team.
Q. I guess answer this one carefully —
MICHAEL CLARKE: Really? (Laughter.)
Q. The amount of consultation that a captain has with a selection panel, it’s an important thing even if you’re not an official selector. Is the level of consultation at the moment comparable to any other time? Is there enough? Do you want more?
MICHAEL CLARKE: No, I think it’s exactly how it’s been since I’ve stood down from being a selector. It’s been very consistent the whole way through. I think when I was a selector there was a lot more stuff over email and over the phone in regards to communication, but since I’ve stood down, it’s been exactly the same.
Q. Michael, is it fair to say Mitchell Starc is the best one-day bowler going around at the moment?
MICHAEL CLARKE: Oh, Starc is bowling beautifully. Again, I’m not going to get into who the best is and who’s not the best. I’ve done that before. I’ve made that mistake before. He’s executing very well. He’s an important part of our team, like all the fast bowlers are and the spinners. He’s bowling beautifully at the moment. He’s bowling quite fast with the new ball and swinging it. Today he didn’t get much swing, but he’s capable of swinging the ball as we’ve seen, and I think his death bowling is very good at the moment.
Q. In a (inaudible) situation, would you turn to Mitchell Starc or Mitchell Johnson at the moment?
MICHAEL CLARKE: No, I’d turn to any of the bowlers we’ve got on the team. I think that’s the luxury we’ve got with this squad. You’ve got a good mix of youth and experience, and you’ve got amazing skill, and we’re going to need it going forward.
Q. The way Chandimal and Angelo were going at almost 10 an over, 10 overs left, 105 to get, were you nervous the way they were batting?
MICHAEL CLARKE: I thought they played really well. The whole Sri Lankan batting innings I thought they played really well, and well under pressure, there’s no doubt about it. We had to continue to take wickets. I think that, again, our attitude was we’ve got to find a way to take wickets, and it shows how far the game has come now that you can even think about chasing 375 runs. But it’s the skill of the players, it’s the work they put in. And credit to the grounds staff here at the Sydney Cricket Ground. I thought that wicket was exceptional. I looked at it yesterday, and I certainly didn’t think it was going to play the way it played today. Didn’t spin anywhere near as much as I thought it would spin, and it was slow, but it wasn’t too slow. It had enough pace in it. I think Tommy Parker deserves a lot of credit for producing a fantastic cricket wicket, and then you’ve seen two teams going at it, doing our best. Maxie’s hundred was a standout for me, but Sangakkara again and the whole Sri Lankan batting order put us under pressure, that’s for sure.
Q. What’s your advice to bowlers how to get you or someone like an AB de Villiers out?
GLENN MAXWELL: Why would I give that up? Change the rules, put 10 on the fence!
Q. Glenn, you mentioned how supportive Shane had been. How happy were you for him to get amongst the runs the past few days?
GLENN MAXWELL: Yeah, extremely happy. He played beautifully, and having chats to him off the field has been really good for me, as well. But to see him hit the ball like he did today, it was just real special partnership that we could have together. I think we put on 160, and it was just a lot of fun, enjoying each other’s success at the same time. Yeah, it was a lot of fun.
Q. And Michael, just sort of big picture, Scotland on the weekend and a few days off now, how do you sort of attack that leading into the knockout phase?
MICHAEL CLARKE: I don’t think much changes in regards to attitude. I think it’s one of the major positives with this team at the moment. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing against. Everybody has turned up to training, wanting to get better, and I think that’ll be our goal over the next week, as well. You know, we need momentum, and we need to grab it and run with it for as long as we possibly can. A couple of days off will be nice, everyone’s body and mind to get away from cricket for a couple days, but once we get into Hobart it’ll be full steam ahead looking to become better individually and as a team, continue to work hard in the nets, and we’ll be ready against Scotland.
Q. Michael, so much has been said and written about you. How do you hold yourself together under so much stress?
MICHAEL CLARKE: Well, I don’t feel stressed from what people write or say. I think I’ve — it might have taken me a few years, but I think I’ve slowly learnt to ignore a lot of it and laugh at a lot of it. That’s probably the only reason I’m still playing this great game of cricket at the highest level, because I’ve been able to do that. When I was a lot younger I probably took a lot more to heart. I think I’m pretty honest with a lot of the journalists that I feel are out of line or criticize me for something that’s not true. I’ll generally front the journalist and ask the question why it’s been said and voice my opinion, as I’m sure a few of the journos in this room have experienced. But I also understand that people have jobs to do. They have to sell newspapers. There’s channels on TV that are fighting for people to watch. I understand and respect that that’s part and parcel of playing sport at the highest level, and I think if you can not take it personally, I think that’s probably — what’s probably been the best thing for me throughout my career. Sometimes it’s hard, but I think you’ve got to do your best.