In public, Michael Clarke’s words, like his footwork while facing spinners, comes across as unhurried due to years of practice, and, at times pre-meditated. While the elegance of his batting is without question, out in the middle the utterances can take a turn for the ugly.
So, when you ask him if the series against India will tread a similar path as the controversy-laden 2007-08 tour, which included the infamous Monkeygate, you know what he is going to say. You can picture him practicing the exact words, contemplating the questions that are going to be asked before they leave the reporter's mouth.
“Both teams understand where we're at. The relationship between Australia and India could not be stronger. We all understand there's a line you can go to but there's a line you can't cross. I can guarantee you that nobody in the our team will cross that and if they do, there'll be punishments from the ICC and CA,” Clarke said. He knew this was going to be asked, and he knew what he had to say.
“The relationship between the Australian players and the Indian players is very good and will continue to be that way,” Clarke said.
“We'll be doing everything to play some really competitive, tough cricket. But we understand and acknowledge that we won't cross that line.” You read it here, the 'line' won't be crossed. No one said anything about it not being navigated though… like a ship through troubled waters.