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Clarke defends out-of-form Indian greats

Press Trust Of India
Jan 23, 2012 at 11:45am IST

Adelaide: It is perhaps the last time that India's batting trinity of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman will play a Test in Australia and host captain Michael Clarke paid tribute to the veterans, saying they should get the respect they deserve.

Clarke could only admire the quality and longevity of India's history men ahead of the fourth and final Test of a series which his team has already won 3-0.

The Indian veterans are drawing criticism back home for their below par show so far but Clarke said Down Under, there is only respect for the three.

Clarke defends out-of-form Indian greats

The Indian veterans are drawing criticism back home for their below par show so far.

"They're three good players and very well-respected all around the world but especially in this country. We have the utmost respect for them," said Clarke.

"They're still playing good cricket. They've copped a bit of criticism of late. For the team's sake, I hope Sachin doesn't make that 100th hundred and we can restrict Laxman and Dravid to not making too many runs so we can win the game.

"But it's going to be a very special moment when he does (score 100th century), wherever that is in the world. I'd like to continue to see those older guys who have been such great players get the respect they deserve. I'm certain India will be very keen to finish the series on a high," he added.

Questions were also asked whether former captain Ricky Ponting is playing his last Test under Clarke's captaincy or if wicketkeeper Brad Haddin is also approaching the end of his career.

"I don't think so. I don't think it will be. He's in really good form. He has had a pretty good series. I've seen Punter bat for a long time now and he's hitting the ball very sweetly. Ricky has a lot of Test cricket left in him," Clarke said.

"Mentally, he's (Haddin) is ready to go. He's been keeping pretty well throughout the series. His experience will play a big part. It's going to be tough conditions out there."

Clarke reiterated he would like Australia to be a number one Test nation again.

"We've performed really well in conditions that we know. That's the advantage of playing in your home country.

"But you still have to execute your skills and that's something that we've done really well throughout this series.

I want to see Australian cricket get back to the number one ranking. We haven't achieved what we've set out to achieve. Until we do get back to the top of that table I don't think I'll be satisfied. Our attitudes need to show that when we walk out onto the field in this Test match."

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