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Clarke turns to childhood mentor for help

Melbourne: Struggling Australian stand-in skipper Michael Clarke has turned to his childhood mentor and Indian-Origin coach Neil D`Costa in a bid to revive his batting form ahead of the upcoming World Cup in the sub-continent.

The move comes a day after national selector and former India coach Greg Chappell publicly backed the batsman to return to his best.

Emphasising on the three successive victories in the ongoing series against England, D`Costa has told his protege to relax and start focusing on his game as Australia seems to be back on track.

"A lot of captains, at different times… they don`t put their gas mask on first," the Indian origin coach said.

"They`re running around trying to fit everybody else`s gas mask. I feel as though, with the team back winning, he can get a little bit of oxygen in his lungs and settle back in his innings and we can see some runs," D`Costa told the `Sydney Morning Herald`.

Clarke has scored just 193 runs at an average of 21.44 during the recent Ashes loss to England and hardly showed any signs of revival during the first three ODI`s of the ongoing series.

D`Costa however disagreed that captaincy had distracted Clarke saying, "I don`t think it`s the captaincy weighing him down. It`s a matter of prioritising.

"He cannot stand the team losing. He just hates it. That`s how most captains are around the world. What happens with captains is they`re searching for what can make his team go in the right direction," D`Costa added.

The coach, however, reiterated that since the Kangaroos are back to winning, Clarke will soon return to form.

"The team`s started to win and, as a captain, that will make him feel that other guys are starting to be a bit more confident in their game. They seem to be a bit more confident. There seems to be more guys contributing.

"The fielding seems to have improved quite a lot, their catching has improved quite a lot in a short space of time.

"So some confidence has started coming back to the side and with that we`ll start to see the captain starting to make some runs as well," the coach insisted.

Endorsing David Hussey`s view that the captain was trying too hard, D`Costa said, "He`s looking for runs rather than letting the runs come."

"As a player you`re desperate to score runs. Right now he`s trying too hard when he bats. Things go wrong when you try too hard. If you just let it flow, things start to fall into place," D`Costa added.

D`Costa also supported Clarke`s view that his problems were not technical. "Everyone seems to keep attacking his technical features. It`s not always technical, it`s an extremely mental game.

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