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Jul 10, 2011

Katich baggage left behind for Sri Lanka tour, says captain Clarke

A FRANK player meeting called by Australian captain Michael Clarke has cleared the air after Simon Katich's controversial axing before the team's tour of Sri Lanka.
The fallout over the veteran Test opener's inglorious dumping threatened to distract the players in the lead-up to next month's tour.
After missing out on a Cricket Australia contract, Katich sensationally revealed there was unease within the Test team about selection decisions, while Ricky Ponting and Shane Watson expressed their surprise over the opener's treatment.
But Clarke said every player was on the same page before the tour after starting a training camp in Brisbane with an honesty session.
''We had a couple of really good meetings on Sunday night, which were really open in an environment where guys were comfortable to voice their opinion,'' he said.
''It was a closed environment which gave everyone the freedom to be themselves and say what they feel, get everything on the table - it was very positive.
''We all walked out of that looking forward to what was in front of us.''
Australian coach Tim Nielsen admitted this week Katich's axing was a clear sign national selectors wanted to ''regenerate'' the team.
But Clarke said players wouldn't be ''looking over their shoulder'' on the Sri Lankan tour, where he will make his debut as full-time Test captain.
''Not at all,'' he said. ''The boys are now feeling very comfortable.
''Unfortunately, in this game some people do get dropped but it is about supporting your mates and getting the best out of your team.''
Australia will play two Twenty20s, five one-dayers and three Tests in Sri Lanka. The T20 and ODI squads have been named but the Test squad won't be announced until later this month.

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