Two months after Dale Steyn said that he hasn’t forgiven Australian captain Michael Clarke for a sledge made to him during the Newlands Test earlier this year, Clarke was bizarrely prevented from talking about it by his publisher on Friday.
Clarke denies there is a problem with South Africa in general, and Steyn in particular, and said that both teams have a ‘mutual respect’ for each other.
While the Australian captain apologised in public and in person for being ‘out of line’ after the Newlands match, Steyn has said he had not forgiven Clarke for what had been said and he would ‘wait until I get to Australia’ before giving his opponent a chance to resolve the issue.
While Steyn said then that Clarke would need to shake his hand and assure him his apology from March was sincere, the Australian on Friday gave no indication he intended to settle the matter when asked if he would approach his rival before the first of five ODIs in Perth next Friday. ‘I have no idea. I’ve made it very clear my thoughts on what happened after that Test match,’ Clarke said at the launch of his tour diary of last summer’s Ashes triumph in Sydney.
In a bizarre scene, he was then cut off by a publicist. ‘We might hold it there,’ the publisher’s representative said, before ending the news conference.
Clarke, in fairness, had answered the questions posed to him despite the interference and with regard to Steyn clearly believes their clash in Cape Town was dealt with at the time and is history. Steyn’s difference of opinion on that, though, will make for an intriguing subplot when both nations’ first-string teams come together again for the key World Cup warm-up series after the T20 leg of South Africa’s tour closes on Sunday night.
Clarke, however, was adamant that relations between Australia and their international rivals were ‘very good’.
‘I think (with) players in general across every country, the relationships are as good as I’ve ever seen them in my career,’ he said. ‘Obviously I said after South Africa that I think both teams have that mutual respect for each other … extremely competitive on the field but I think there’s no doubt there is that mutual respect. And India (who play four Tests against Australia this summer) is no different. I think you’ll see this summer that both teams will fight it out hard on the field because we’re really competitive and we want to win but off the field I think there’s a fantastic relationship.’
South Africa won the international triangular one-day series in Harare two months ago and both the Proteas and Australia stayed in the same hotel, but the pair never spoke one word to each other before Clarke returned home through injury.
Steyn didn’t mince words about his attitude towards Clarke since the explosive incident and what it would take to bury the hatchet.
‘I don’t take many things personally, but what he did say to me I did take personally,’ Steyn said after claiming man-of-the-match honours in the Tri-Series final win in Harare.
‘I know he apologised in the media and I should be playing this down. But the day he comes and shakes my hand and says “I really mean what I said” and behaves like the way he should, maybe then I will (forgive him). But for right now, he’s not here so I’ll wait until I get to Australia.’
Watch that incident here: