Michael Clarke Brushes The Big Bash
Newly appointed Australian test captain Michael Clarke has continued his tendency to shy away from Twenty20 cricket after announcing that he will not compete in this year’s inaugural Big Bash League.
Clarke has decided that he will devote his time to focussing on Australia’s test series’ against New Zealand and India, as well as the triangular one day series which will feature India and Sri Lanka.
“With the greatest respect to everybody involved in the KFC Twenty20 Big Bash League, I will not be committing for this year,” Clarke said.
“My goal is to play Twenty20 cricket domestically for sure. But at the moment, I want to prioritise my time and commitment to my role in the Australian team.
“We have six big months of cricket ahead, and my commitment and focus is with those teams. I am only available for one Big Bash League game this year, and that was a consideration as well.”
As Clarke indicated, those involved in the Australian test side will only be available for a maximum of two games in the BBL, however that hasn’t stopped the likes of Ricky Ponting, Usman Khawaja, Phil Hughes, Brad Haddin, Steve Smith and Mike Hussey signing with a BBL franchise.
Mike McKenna, who heads the BBL for Cricket Australia, said he would have loved for Clarke to be involved in the league but understood his desire to be fully committed to the national team.
“We understand and respect his decision. And while we will miss him, the KFC Twenty20 Big Bash League already offers fans a galaxy of international and national stars which will help galvanise fan excitement in year one.” McKenna said.
Clarke has also refused to play in the Indian Premier League, potentially costing himself millions of dollars.
While cricket audiences are flocking to the shortest form of the game Clarke says ‘governing bodies must prioritise player performance and payment in test cricket’.
“The future of test cricket relies on the investment in continuing to make it the pinnacle of the sport. It’s the toughest form of the game,” Clarke said.
“It requires all the skills of the other two forms of the game, but over five days. The physical and mental intensity of a five day test makes test cricket far and away the pinnacle of the game.
“I think there needs to be more innovation and entertainment at breaks in the game at test venues.”
Clarke is doing whatever it will take to convince the Australian public that he is fully commited to being Australia’s test match captain, including dropping Bonds and Gillette as sponsors because they were thought to contribute to an image problem.