GOLD COAST, Australia (Reuters) - Former captain Michael Clarke has offered to help the embattled Australian cricket team ‘in any way’ he can as they deal with the fallout of ball-tampering bans to captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner.
Smith and Warner were banned by Cricket Australia for 12 months, while opening batsman Cameron Bancroft received a nine-month ban for ball tampering during last month’s third test against South Africa.
Wicketkeeper Tim Paine, who was a surprise recall for the Ashes series against England last year, took over the captaincy in the short term.
The 37-year-old, who retired at the end of an unsuccessful Ashes tour of England in 2015, said he would consider returning in any capacity to help out Cricket Australia (CA).
“I would do anything to help the Australian cricket team,” he told Australia’s Daily Telegraph newspaper on Sunday.
“I can’t just sit here and do nothing. I feel I owe the game too much. I’ve experienced a lot of great things in cricket but some tough times as well.
“I’ve got the experience to help these young players and that’s where our focus should be right now until the other guys come back.”
Australia’s next international commitment is a limited-overs tour of England in June.
Clarke later Tweeted a clarification in which he said his contact with Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland had been generally supportive in nature and the offer of help could mean “mentoring the under 14s”.
“Let me make very clear that I have not sent any formal offer to James Sutherland to come back and play cricket,” he wrote from India, where he is working as a media pundit.
“I sent him a message as a friend offering to help Australian cricket in ANY way I could. I won’t be batting in the nets in India in preparation for a comeback and, as I have always said, the game owes me nothing, I owe it everything.”
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury and Nick Mulvenney; Editing by John O'Brien