Versus: Will Michael Clarke or Alastair Cook lift the urn at the end of the 2013/14 series?
The first instalment of our new feature 'Versus' pits Australia's captain against England's...
Last Updated: 20/11/13 12:57pm
Clarke has won only 12 of his 29 games as skipper and couldn't save Australia from a 3-1 defeat in 2010/11 or a 3-0 loss earlier this summer, despite scoring nearly 3,000 runs at an average of over 60 since succeeding Ricky Ponting.
Cook, meanwhile, was the leading run-scorer the last time England toured Australia as he racked up three tons on his way to a personal haul of 766 runs, including 235no out at the Gabba, at an average of 127.
At 56 per cent, his win percentage compares very favourably to that of Clarke (41 per cent) and the left-hander won't want this summer to be the last time he lifts the urn. So who will come out on top this time?
What they say...
Cook: "There is no reason to feel intimidated. A lot of players in this squad were here in 2010/11 so we've all got experience of winning in Australia. We know how important this game was last time for setting up the series. Australia have got a very good record here in Brisbane and it's our job to try and change that."
Clarke: "We're confident, we're in a great place. We know we have to play our best cricket but we are as well-prepared as we can be and I guess as captain of the team that's all you can ask. The boys are going really well; they've trained exceptionally well and they're in a great place and we're excited about the first Test finally starting, that's for sure."
What the stats say...
What the pundits say...
David Lloyd: "Alastair Cook, has handled himself very well and looked very relaxed in the press conferences whereas I think Michael Clarke has looked edgy. But England are notoriously poor starters so they need to get stronger as they did last time around. There's always a tinge of green here and Ricky Ponting told me that as a captain sometimes you look at it and think 'bowl, bowl, bowl' but then you've got to bat. England could be vulnerable here."
Shane Warne: "Cook can be negative, boring & not very imaginative. I don't like that style of captaincy. He needs to be more proactive. If Australia play well, and Cook continues to captain the way he does, I think he will lose the series. Michael Clarke, to me, is the best captain in the world at the moment. He's got a lot of imagination, the fields he comes up with to Jonathan Trott or Cook. Cook would never have a leg-slip, bat-pad or leg-gully. Michael's very well respected."
So what do you think? Will Clarke or Cook lead their team to victory? Make sure you have your say and vote in our poll.
Stay up or catch up - watch England's defence of the Ashes in Australia this winter ONLY on Sky Sports, starting at 11pm this Wednesday on Sky Sports 2.