sport

Clarke regrets Anderson jibe

Australia captain Michael Clarke has expressed his regret at his use of "unacceptable" language towards James Anderson last winter.

Clarke was fined 20 per cent of his match fee by the International Cricket Council for telling Anderson to "get ready to have your ****ing arm broken" during the November encounter at the Gabba, which the hosts went on to win en route to a 5-0 whitewash.

The remark was picked up by the on-ground stump microphone and inadvertently relayed to the watching world.

Clarke acknowledged the confrontation, which was allegedly sparked when Anderson threatened to punch Australia Test debutant George Bailey in the face, may not have shown him in a good light and was remorseful for that, but did not regret standing up for his team-mate.

"Maybe I hadn't said exactly what I said to James Anderson (previously), but I'd stuck up for my players on a number of occasions and it's never been picked up on the stump mic," Clarke said in an interview with www.cricket.com.au.

"Nobody has ever spoken about it.

"And when I say I regret it, I regret the language I used and I regret that I said it over the stump mic.

"The last thing I want is for boys and girls watching cricket to be going and playing club cricket and saying things like that to opposition players.

"I think it's unacceptable that the Australian cricket captain is setting that example.

"But I don't regret standing up for George Bailey one bit. I don't regret being extremely honest with James Anderson and telling him what Mitchell Johnson's plan was.

"I don't regret that - I just regret that everybody heard it and the language I used."

Clarke dismissed talk that the spat was driven by a long-standing grudge between the pair, who first played against each other 12 years ago.

"The media like to do up that we have history," the 33-year-old said. "The only history I have is that England kept beating us.

"And he (Anderson) was a part of England and I was part of Australia."

Clarke also said he hoped suggestions that the incident had altered public perceptions of his character were wide of the mark.

"I think it's an insult if that's why it (public opinion) has changed," he added.

"I understand and respect that some people might have thought, 'well, we didn't know that Michael had that anger and aggression in him'.

"But it's like what I said before the start of the Ashes series. You can't be judged as a good captain if you win an Ashes series, or a bad captain if you lose.

"Over a period of time you are judged on performance - it can't be about one Test match or five Test matches whether you're good or bad.

"It's the same as a player. You can't be a bad player when you get three ducks and then, when you make three hundreds, be a legend. This game doesn't work like that.

"So if people like me more because I said that to James Anderson, then I think that's very silly.

"If people think that all of a sudden I'm a good captain because I said that to James Anderson, then I think that's silly as well."