Michael Clarke - Player Profile - ICC Ranking, Batting, Bowling And Career Info, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more
Biography for Michael Clarke, Player profile for Michael Clarke, Michael Clarke player profile, Michael Clarke Biography, Cricket player Michael Clarke Biography, Biography with Batting Statistics, Biography with Bowling Statistics, Michael Clarke Player profile with Batting and Bowling Statistics,
|Born||April 02, 1981|
|Liverpool, New South Wales|
|Age||38 years 294 days|
|Teams||Australia, New South Wales, Pune Warriors, Sydney Thunder, Australians, Kowloon Cantons|
|Bat Style||Right Handed Bat|
|Bowl Style||Left-arm orthodox|
|BBI||9 / 6||35 / 5||2 / 1||12 / 1|
|BBM||9 / 6||35 / 5||2 / 1||12 / 1|
It was as a blonde-haired free wheeling strokemaker that Clarke first stormed the international arena in the ODI format in early 2003. The prodigious talent wasn't hard to spot, he had all the shots in the book and also great footwork against the spinners which made him a compelling package to have in the side. The early ODI success translated into a Test cap in 2004 and Clarke started the longest format pretty much the way he had in the 50-overs one. Ironically, for a man who had come into the team for his adventurous brand of strokeplay, it was in Tests that Clarke established himself in a big way although he ended up with really good numbers in ODIs as well. He did have some lean patches though, particularly in 2005 when Australia lost the Ashes in England and then in 2010-11, again during a phase when the urn was lost, this time at home. These times apart, Clarke made truckload of runs and seemingly loved the challenge which came with captaincy in late 2011.
Without doubt, 2012 was Clarke's best year in Tests by some distance. He notched up two triple tons and as many double tons in the year with breathtaking ease. His fabulous run scoring inspired the Australian side that was rebuilding post the retirements of Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey. Needless to say, he was the fulcrum of the batting and the pressure just seemed to make him play better. Although the initial years of his captaincy didn't see any great success, eventually the Ashes whitewash at home came during 2013-14, which was sweet revenge for the defeat in England that had happened barely six months earlier. What pleased him more was that the win was a collective effort with quite a lot of matchwinners like Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Brad Haddin, Steve Smith etc to name a few. Clarke also got some runs but he didn't have to shoulder the burden on his own which was a relief to him. The Ashes win was followed by a tough series win in South Africa which propelled Australia to the top of the rankings.
Clarke's proactive captaincy was immensely lauded in Australia's Test success but his ODI career was clearly limping along due to the recurring back injuries that he was encountering. His preference for Tests meant that he would often take breaks during the ODI legs of a series that was captained by George Bailey. However, Clarke did have a hope of finishing his 50-over career with a World Cup and with the 2015 edition to be held at home, he worked hard to make the tournament as the captain of the side. It won't be wrong to say that he might not have made the cut if he wasn't the captain of the side. Reason being, Australia's limited-overs side were brimming with players who were capable of creating a far bigger impact than Clarke whose white-ball game had declined a bit despite still being resourceful. His unsung contributions over the years meant that he did get to lead a formidable side that eventually sealed the title at the MCG, thereby giving a joyous farewell to their skipper from the format.
Injuries meant that Clarke couldn't quite prolong his Test career as he would have liked. Also, an Ashes defeat does have consequences and although it was only a 2-3 defeat to England in their den in 2015, he had decided to call it quits as soon as the series was lost. The emergence of Steven Smith, both as a prolific run getter as well as potential leader might have been another factor that influenced Clarke's thinking. Smith had led the side briefly during the home series against India in his skipper's absence. Clarke was also emotionally drained, with the Phil Hughes demise happening just before that series and Australia responded by dedicating the World Cup title to their late teamman. Clarke was at the forefront of handling the issue, both as captain as well as family friend to the Hughes family. It was an act that earned a lot of respect from various quarters of the globe. Perhaps the emotional turmoil and more importantly, injuries played a part in Clarke exiting from international cricket.
Predominantly a batsman who loved to thrill the crowd with his shot making, Clarke's bowling was more than useful as he proved on the rank turners of India once with a 6-fer in Mumbai. He had the ability to get enough turn if the surface assisted the spinners and was fairly accurate as well. As his career progressed, back injuries hampered his bowling to some extent but couldn't stop his fielding heroics. Like many Australians, he was also an exceptional fielder who could be stationed anywhere on the park. He was agile, acrobatic and had an extremely powerful arm. It's this wholesome package which impressed many during his early days and eventually, Clarke made batting his only real contribution to a game due to the physical vulnerabilities that he had developed over the years. Perhaps as a captain, he was a reluctant bowler too - something that has happened a lot with many players.
Clarke loved to take the game forward as a captain, especially in Tests where he made plenty of eyebrow-raising declarations to force a result. Once, he even declared on the first day of a Test in India with hardly a threatening total on the board, just to get a few overs late in the day against the opponents. His leadership had intent which was necessary to compensate the lack of intimidation his Australian side had when compared to their predecessors. He might not have had a great success ratio as captain in the longest format but certainly contributed to making it entertaining. Despite all his pros as a skipper, there were some scathing negatives too. Many a time, there were differences within the camp and a few players had been vocal about Clarke's inability to mingle with everyone equally. His slightly elite background forced the press also to speculate as to whether he had ego issues. Some embarrassing incidents, like the Homeworkgate scandal on the tour of India in 2013 are pointers that harmony wasn't always there under his leadership.
In spite of the cons, Clarke's contribution to Australian cricket as well as international cricket was immense. A flamboyant batsman who incorporated impeccable grit to his game, Clarke's best years as a batsman were testimony of what mental strength can do. He faced the best of bowlers in their meanest of spells without flinching. His heroics against the South African pacers come to mind instantly, especially towards the fag end in 2014 when he received a barrage from Morne Morkel but stayed unfazed to produce a quality ton. Although he came in as a dapper of a strokemaker, he wasn't able to adapt to the latest T20 format as much as he would have liked to. Clarke was part of the Indian Premier League as well, briefly, but success didn't quite come to him there as well. After his international retirement, he has been an active voice in the Channel 9 commentary box apart from also travelling around the world for the same.
By Hariprasad Sadanandan