Former Australian pacer Glenn McGrath believes that current skipper Michael Clarke sets the bar high in the team and enjoys being the focus of the team. Writing in his column in The Guardian, McGrath says that 'Clarke thrives on the pressure created by his position. He enjoys being the focus, the centre of attention, the one that is expected to go out there and do a job'.
McGrath added that in Australia, cricket captaincy was the most important job in the country - more vital than being Prime Minister as well. 'Clarke sets high standards for his teammates. When he scores big runs the team does well,' he wrote.
Terming Australia's previous captains Allan Border, Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting as 'nerds', McGrath calls Clarke a 'Julio' - a slang for someone who is cool. 'In the dressing room you were either a nerd or a Julio. Julio's have got to look perfect - the hair has got to be perfect, it's all about their appearance. The nerds weren't bothered about how they looked. Michael Clarke is a Julio,' writes McGrath.
'Clarke may be a different character from the other guys I have played under,' added McGrath. 'But on the field he is the same. He plays it tough and expects the best from himself and his team-mates.'
McGrath claims that when Clarke made his Test debut for Australia versus India in 2004, he didn't seem captaincy material. However, Clarke was willing to learn from the likes of Ponting, Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden. 'To have that sort of schooling makes a huge difference to a young player and when Ricky retired, he was the obvious choice,' McGrath adds.
McGrath also compared the contrasting styles in captaincy between Clarke and England skipper Alastair Cook during the on-going Ashes series. 'While Cook is very structured in his approach to the game, Pup (Clarke) adjusts a lot quicker to the match situation. It's one of his real strengths,' he wrote.
McGrath says that while he wouldn't call Clarke 'a student of the game' he treats it with respect. 'Clarke tries to be more of an all-round package.' McGrath also added that when Clarke hangs up his boots, he could either be a commentator or a coach, or 'something completely different'.