Michael Clarke speaks out amid 'spirit of cricket' storm around Aussies at T20 World Cup

The former Aussie cricket captain has had his say on the situation.

Keep calm and carry on, England. According to former Australia cricket captain Michael Clarke, the Poms should have no fears over the Aussies manipulating a result at the T20 World Cup to prevent their bitter rivals from reaching the knockout stages.

After their first game washout against Scotland was followed by a heavy loss to Australia, England has beaten Oman and needs to win its final pool match against Namibia – while significantly improving their net run-rate – to advance. It had led to speculation Australia might adopt a go-slow attitude in its final pool match against Scotland to ensure both teams go through while eliminating England in the process.

Michael Clarke and Josh Hazlewood at the T20 World Cup.
Michael Clarke doesn't think Australia would try and manipulate results to see England knocked out of the T20 World Cup. Image: Getty

Aussie paceman Josh Hazlewood added to the conspiracy theory, telling reporters with a smile: "We’ve had some real struggles against them (England) in T20 cricket. So if we can get them out of the tournament, that’s in our best interest as well as probably everyone else."

England's Australian-born coach Matthew Mott took Hazlewood's words in jest and has no doubt Mitchell Marsh's team will go full bore in its final two pool games. And Clarke, part of two Australian World Cup victories in the 50-over format, agrees.

"I'd be very surprised if an Australian team manipulated the result. I can’t see that," he told Sky Sports Radio. "In saying that, I didn’t think sandpaper gate would happen either, but I don’t think this Australian team will do that (go easy against Scotland). I think they will rest some players but their attitude will be (to) walk out, win the game, get off the field, keep our momentum going and bring on the Super 8s (knockout phase)."

Josh Hazlewood, pictured here in action for Australia against England at the T20 World Cup.
Josh Hazlewood in action for Australia against England at the T20 World Cup. Image: Getty

Clarke said talk of Australia trying to pay England back for last year's spiteful Ashes series and "spirit of cricket" furore was wide of the mark. "The beef between Australia and England - I know we all want it to be there, certainly for an Ashes series – it's not like that (here)," he continued.

"It's not that personal, where there's an opportunity to put your foot on England's throat. In a competition like this, you're not going out of your way to lose a game or to only win by a certain amount of overs to disrupt England's chance.

"It would be the first Australian team ever to walk out onto a field and give a win up or try to make it closer than it should be, caring about what happens to opposition teams. They will walk out there and try to win, there's no doubt about it."

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England's thrashing of Oman means they're back in control of their own destiny and only a very unlikely Australian loss to Scotland will knock them out. The Poms won by eight wickets with 16.5 overs remaining on Thursday night, taking just 19 balls to knock off their target after dismissing Oman for 47.

The win hugely improves England's net run-rate and their chances of progressing out of Group B. The huge margin of victory means they will go second if they win Saturday's clash with Namibia, and will only be knocked out if Scotland can shock Australia.