Full name Michael John Clarke – Nickname Pup, Clarkey
Born April 2, 1981, Liverpool, New South Wales
Major teams Australia, Hampshire, New South Wales, Pune Warriors
Playing role Middle-order batsman
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Slow left-arm orthodox
Height 1.78 m
Michael John Clarke is a professional Australian cricketer and captain of the Australian cricket team for both Test and ODI cricket. Nicknamed ‘Pup’, he is a right-handed middle-order batsman, and an occasional left-arm orthodox spin bowler. He represents New South Wales at a domestic level. In January 2011, Clarke stood down as captain of the Australian Twenty20 cricket team to concentrate on his Test and ODI performance.
Clarke made his debut for New South Wales as an eighteen-year-old in the 1999–2000 Sheffield Shield. Clarke made his One Day International debut in January 2003 against England at Adelaide. He was an AIS Australian Cricket Academy scholarship holder in 1999–2000.
Clarke was chosen to make his Test debut against India at Bangalore, October 2004, despite having a first-class average below 40. He succeeded on debut, scoring 151 and consequently helping Australia to victory, invoking comparisons to past Australian batsmen such as Doug Walters and Mark Waugh. The innings, felt Peter Roebuck, was especially notable for its aggression and freedom. “Not that the assault was reckless,” he added. “Indeed the control was impressive. Clarke calculated the risks and took his brains with him down the track. Of course he need a bit of luck, was plumb in front in the nineties, but few begrudged him his hundred. And everyone except his weary foes celebrated with him and his tearful family when he reached three figures. After all, he had advanced both the match and the game.”
Clarke went on to play a major part in Australia’s 2–1 series victory, their first in India in over thirty years, contributing figures of 6 for 9 off 6.2 overs in the Fourth Test, which Australia lost.
On his return to Australia he made another debut century, his first home Test in Brisbane against New Zealand, becoming one of the few Test cricketers to have achieved the feat of Test centuries on both their home and away debuts.
In recognition of his performance in the 2004 calendar year, he was awarded the Allan Border Medal in 2005.
Clarke’s poor form during the 2005 Ashes series and his failure to score a test century for over a year saw him dropped from the Test team in late 2005. Clarke had previously remarked that one of his career aims was to never be dropped from the Test team. In early 2006, after making his first first-class double century and scoring heavily in ODIs, Clarke was recalled for the tour of South Africa. He was then picked over Andrew Symonds for the April 2006 Tests against Bangladesh. Two consecutive centuries in the second and third Ashes Tests while Shane Watson was injured helped Australia to regain the Ashes and cemented Clarke’s position in the Test team.
Clarke then helped Australia retain the 2007 Cricket World Cup in the West Indies where they did not lose a game. After Damien Martyn’s retirement he was elevated to number 5 in the batting line up. He had a superb tournament making 4 fifties including a 92 and a 93* against the Netherlands and South Africa. He also made an unbeaten 60 against South Africa in the semi final to guide Australia into the final at Barbados, against Sri Lanka.
Clarke faced only 4 balls for 3 runs in the ICC World Twenty20, when Australia were knocked out by India in the semi final. Two weeks later he made 130 against India in the first of a 7 match ODI series. He did not maintain that form in the remaining 6 matches mustering up just one fifty. He opened the batting in the final 2 games after a hip injury ruled out Matthew Hayden and he made two golden ducks. In the tour-ending Twenty20 match Clarke dropped back down the order with the return of Hayden, and scored 25 not out in a heavy defeat to the current Twenty20 world champions.
On 9 November 2007, Clarke notched up his fifth Test century against Sri Lanka in a two Test series. Clarke shared a 245 run partnership with Mike Hussey at the Gabba in Brisbane, Hussey departed on 133 but Clarke went on and had a partnership with Symonds who made 53*, the pair were unbeaten when Ricky Ponting declared the innings, Clarke top scoring with 145 not out.
On 5 December 2007, Cricket Australia named Clarke as captain of Australia for their one-off Twenty20 game against New Zealand in Perth, after deciding to rest Ponting and Hayden.
On 6 January 2008, Clarke dismissed Harbhajan Singh, RP Singh and Ishant Sharma in the second last over of the day, with just 8 minutes remaining, to claim the final three wickets and win the test match for Australia (at one stage he was on a hat trick, dismissing Harbhajan Singh and RP Singh on consecutive deliveries). His innings figures were 3 for 5 in 1.5 overs. Australian captain Ricky Ponting had declared that morning, setting India a total of 333 to chase and allowing Australia arguably too little time to bowl out the visitors. Clarke’s wickets ensured that Australia retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2008 and kept their world record equalling 16 match win streak alive.
After the retirement of Adam Gilchrist, in April 2008 Clarke was named vice-captain of the Australian side. Clarke missed the start of Australia’s 2008 tour of the West Indies following the death of Bingle’s father, meaning Hussey took over as vice-captain for the start of the tour. Soon after Clarke joined up with the squad, he scored a century in the second Test in Antigua, going on to captain the side in the final two One Day Internationals, both of which were won, in the absence through injury of Ponting.
He was named man of the series in the recent two-Test series against New Zealand in Australia with scores of 110, 98 and 10, as well as being the top run-scorer in the three-Test series against South Africa in Australia.
Clarke won the 2009 Allan Border Medal in a tie with Ricky Ponting both scoring 41 points, and was named Test Cricketer of the Year.
In October 2009, Clarke was named as captain of Australia’s Twenty20 side, taking over from the retired Ricky Ponting.
Clarke married model and presenter Kyly Boldy on 15 May 2012.
During the Australian Cricket tour of New Zealand in March 2010, Clarke left the tour to return to Sydney for “personal reasons”. Clarke’s management confirmed Clarke and Bingle had decided to terminate their engagement in a late night press conference on 12 March 2010. Speaking to GQ Australia in November 2010, Clarke said of his decision to leave the tour of New Zealand, “My decision that I made there, was what I thought was right. I respect playing for my country that much that I thought, if I’m going to let anybody down, I shouldn’t be here — there’s somebody else who could be doing a better job than me. Going home was the right decision at the time for me. I don’t regret that decision.”