Champions Trophy: Clarke plays down Australia rift claims

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Michael Clarke insists the Australia camp is unified despite this week’s incident involving batsman David Warner.

The opener was banned until the first Ashes Test against England and fined almost £7000, after striking England’s Joe Root in a Birmingham bar last weekend.

There have been reports from Down Under suggesting that Shane Watson has expressed his disappointment with how the Warner affair has been handled.

Watson was one of four Australian players to be dropped for a Test against India in March, after they failed to answer a sheet given to them by the management asking for how they feel the team could improve, and was claimed to be unhappy about perceived double standards.

Clarke though has been keen to point out that there are no such issues amongst the squad, as they prepare for their crunch Champions Trophy match against Sri Lanka on Monday.

The Aussie skipper said: “Shane certainly didn’t take up with Mickey that he had a problem with how we as a leadership group dealt with it. That allegation is completely false.

“Everybody acknowledges he’s let the team down – there’s no doubt about it. I don’t think Shane’s in a different situation to any of the other players.”

Clarke has missed the first two games of the one-day tournament due to a back injury and it remains unclear whether he will play any part in the final Group A match against Sri Lanka on Monday.

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