Coach defends Clarke’s bar hangout on eve of Ashes’ loss


Sydney : Australian cricket coach Tim Nielsen has come to the defence of Michael Clarke and Phillip Hughes, who were spotted in a Melbourne bar a night before their team lost the Boxing Day Test against England.

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Australian media reported that Clarke and Hughes were seen at the city’s World Restaurant and Bar, where they drank till late night and posed with fans including the members of the Barmy Army. The next morning, Australia lost the Test match and England retained the Ashes after 24 years.

But Nielsen Thursday said he did not find anything wrong in the behaviour of Clarke and Hughes in the pictures showed to him.

“They were out for dinner. All the information we received straight after the incident was that they were out for dinner together and nothing but polite and courteous to the people out in the public,” Nielsen told SEN radio.

“These guys are playing cricket all day, every day. And they are never playing at home.”

“They posed for photographs and signed autographs, they talked about the Test match. I can promise you they would not have been feeling great because we were under pressure in the Test and going to the fourth day looking like the Ashes were going to be lost.

“I don’t really mind what anybody says. But I can’t expect – I won’t expect – any of my players to sit in their hotel room for 250 nights of the year, especially if they are having a bad day or a good day.”

Earlier, a Melbourne-based woman Emily Goodyear told The Daily Telegraph that she flirted with Clarke and Hughes for 45 minutes before leaving while they were still around.