Michael Clarke considering coming out of retirement to replace Steve Smith as Australian captain after ball-tampering scandal

Michael Clarke said he was emotional about the scandal, expressing sympathy for Steve Smith and his teammates but also slammed the incident as "blatant cheating".

AFP, Mar 25, 2018 14:38:18 IST

Melbourne: Michael Clarke kept open the possibility he could return as Australia captain on Sunday, after a massive ball-tampering scandal in the third Test against South Africa plagued his successor Steve Smith.

Clarke, 36, retired in 2015 after his 115th and final Test of the Ashes series against England and comments on cricket for Australia's Nine Network.

File image of Michael Clarke. AFP

File image of Michael Clarke. AFP

He told the broadcaster when quizzed whether he would assume the captaincy again if asked, "If I was asked by the right people, then I would think about my answer."

The 36-year-old said he was emotional about the scandal, expressing sympathy for Smith and his teammates but also slamming the incident as "blatant cheating".

"In my heart, I believe (Smith) has just made a really, really bad mistake. You know, I hope there can be a way around this, that he can continue to captain Australia," Clarke said.

Steve Smith and David Warner stepped down as the captain and vice-captain of the national team on March 25.

"This is not about me at all. This is about Australian cricket and the future of Australian cricket and where these current players and this current structure and leadership sits.

"And my job is to make sure I can help this game come back from this."

Clarke added that he was "sitting completely on the fence" amid calls for Smith to step down or be stood down.

"My heart feels for him. If something is to happen to Steve Smith, then the captaincy cannot go to anybody that has been involved in this situation," he said.

Updated Date: Mar 25, 2018 15:04:02 IST

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