Speaking to media ahead of Friday's third one-day international against Sri Lanka, the Australian captain said the selection panel, of which he is a member, is doing its best to ensure the strongest team takes the field for every match.
Matthew Wade, David Warner and Clarke were rested for the first two games of the five-match series against Sri Lanka, which stands at 1-1. "What the public wants to see is the best possible Australian team on the field, every game, and honestly I think we're trying to do that. I really do," Clarke said.
"I think the risk of playing someone when they're not 100% fit, if they do get injured, can put them out for six weeks, six months."
Clarke said that although keeping the fans happy was vital, Australian cricket no longer had the luxury of a settled 11 full of world beaters, as it did a decade ago.
"The issue where the Australian team now is compared to 10 years ago, is 10 years ago you had four, five, six, seven great players in one team - so if they were 80% fit, they were still good enough to win a game for Australia," he said. "Where we sit now as a team is, it's a lot different to that.
"The gap between the 11 players that take the field and the 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th player is quite close, so if you're not 100% fit to perform at your best, it's not worth the risk for the team for you to take to the field and let the team down.
"I think what the public wants to see also is see Australia win games of cricket. We're going to try on every single occasion to get our best 11, the guys that are fully fit, on the park.
"The Australian way is always, and will always be, everybody is entitled to their opinion, and I love that about this country. We as a selection panel, yeah, there's going to be times we have to cop criticism, that's for sure.
"But I just want the public and the media to understand that we're trying to do the best thing for Australian cricket."