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Michael Clarke and Stuart Clark Specifiers

Former Test stars Stuart Clarke and Michael Clarke say the Australian selectors have put themselves into a corner in India after dropping Travis Head, picking two spinners.

Australia fell through an innings in Nagpur with Head sitting on the sidelines, while newcomer Todd Murphy was the tourists best bowler, taking 7-124.

The dire result suggests a change is necessary, but Clark and Clark say the selectors are off ahead of the second test, starting on Friday.

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Matthew Kahneman was parachuted into the team as an option to spin the ball off the right-hander, but his placement in the XI was difficult given Murphy’s strong performance.

Selectors now can’t drop Murphy, Clark said, but they can’t drop veteran Nathan Lyon either.

“I’ve watched a little bit of him (Kohnemann) play local cricket,” Clark said on Sky Sports Radio. Great sports breakfast. “He’s a good bowler, he’ll be hardworking and give a bit of variety.

“But that means you either have to play three spinners — I’m not sure they will — or you have to drop Nathan Lyon. I’m sure they won’t.

“Obviously Todd Murphy was really good, so you can’t just leave him out.”

Former Australia captain Clarke agreed, adding: “Our players have done a good job but I don’t know if a couple of captains are the right balance for us either.

“But like Stewie just said, how can you bring one down? You can’t.”

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Clark feels the selectors are similarly stuck with regard to Head, who was sensationally bowled out for the First Test despite averaging nearly 90 over the home summer.

Outrage over Head’s omission was widespread with several former players, including Alan Border, Steve Waugh, Matthew Hayden and Mitchell Johnson, all wondering why he was sacked.

Clark also thinks this was the wrong call, but says the way forward is now murky.

“I think they put themselves in a corner where it’s very difficult to change the team,” he said.

“It’s such an angle that they’re almost stuck and unless they get some rest from injury – ie. Mitchell Stark and Cameron Green are back – I don’t see how they can make any changes without looking like, ‘A; there’s an overreaction to what happened in the first game or two. accepting that they made a mistake, and I don’t think they want to do either of those.”

Clark said selectors should start the series with Head instead of Matthew Renshaw.

He added that coach Andrew McDonald’s defense of Australia’s selections and game plan after the first Test made things more difficult.

“Travis Head is fifth, if you start with him and it doesn’t work out, you can make a change,” he said.

“Now, they’re either shooting themselves in the feet if they put Matthew Renshaw down because they’re like ‘Well, we made a mistake’, and Andrew McDonald comes out and says ‘We didn’t make a mistake’.”

“They put themselves in such a difficult position.”

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Meanwhile, recent suggestions that Head could be used as opening key alongside Usman Khawaja, with David Warner – who also has a poor record in Asia – dismissed as an exit.

He added that Australia had arrived in India unprepared, calling for no special match tour.

“I think the thing that excites me about the whole thing is — and we talked about it before the series started — were they as well prepared as they could be? The general consensus, if you talk to anyone on the street, is, ‘No, they weren’t,’” he said.

“No practice game, no tour match, show up…and dust has been scattered in a way that people are very disappointed.

“Say what you will, they were smoked out. India is a very good team in their own country, but I don’t think they were prepared well enough.”


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