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Starc’s absence will have huge impact in remaining Tests against India, says Clarke

STORY: Former Australian Captain Michael Clarke on Friday (March 10) said fast bowler Mitchell Starc’s absence will have a huge impact on the ongoing four-test series against India.

Cricketer Mitchell Starc was ruled out of the series after he suffered a stress fracture in his right foot during the second Test in southern Bengaluru city.

Clarke said Starc was the X-factor of the team and his absence would make the game tough for the Australian side.

“It will have a huge impact. I think Mitchell Starc is that X-factor with the Australian team. I think he will certainly be missed. Will they bring him I am not sure, but it makes the game even tougher I guess for Australia. But the Australians will still be confident that they can win in these conditions,” Clarke said, while talking to reporters on the sidelines of an event in the national capital.

Clarke, however, added he was confident that Australia will go on to win the series.

Speaking about Indian captain Virat Kohli’s aggressiveness on the field, Clarke said it was Kohli’s “greatest strengths”.

“I think Virat’s aggression is one of his greatest strengths. I think that’s the way he likes to play, that’s the way he has had success and I am sure that’s the way he will continue to play,” added Clarke.

On Wednesday (March 08), Australian Captain Steve Waugh had said though he was a fan of Kohil’s aggressiveness, but he needed to work on it on the field.

Clarke also praised Australian spin duo Steve O’Keefe and Nathan Lyon who were instrumental in the visitors winning the Pune Test, saying that the duo have worked hard and have done great job in the series so far.

The four-match test series is currently leveled at 1-1 with the visitors having won the first Test by 333 runs. However, the Virat Kohli led-side came back strongly and defeated Australia by 75 runs in the second Test.

Meanwhile, the 36-year-old spent some quality time with a group of underprivileged slum children, including members of an all-girl cricket team, sharing tips about the sport.

Children were excited with his presence and said that his suggestions will help them in improving their game.

“We were very excited and happy when we came to know that he (Michael Clarke) is coming to meet all of us,” said the captain of all girls cricket team, Kavita.

In a country of 1.2 billion people, cricket is treated like a religion. But the dream does not come cheap if one wishes to pursue the sport professionally. The poor cannot afford exorbitant fee for coaching and expensive kits.

But a non-government organisation, CRY (Child Rights and You), has taken up the task and is all set to give wings to these slum dwellers’ dreams.

For over 30 years, CRY and its partners have worked with parents and communities to ensure a huge change in the lives of more than 20 lakhs (2 million) of underprivileged children.

Vatsala Mamgain, Director, Resource Mobilisation, CRY, said that sport has brought about a positive change in the lives of the girls.

“The incredible point is that when you speak to these girls, and you ask them the difference that cricket as sport (has made), the first thing they say is- ‘Ma’am this has given us a respect’. Now when we walk in the streets or in the roads people know who we are,” said Mamgain.

During the event, Clarke also gave away cricket kits to the captain and vice-captain of the girls’ cricket team. He also distributed soccer and cricket balls and cricket bats among other kids present at the event.




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