Michael John Clarke (born 2 April 1981), is a former international cricketer and captain of Australia. He is widely considered one of Australia's greatest ever batsmen and captains.
He led Australia to their 5th Cricket World Cup triumph, when his team defeated New Zealand in the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 at the MCG. Under his captaincy, Australia whitewashed arch-rivals England 5-0 during the 2013–14 Ashes series down-under & also gained the No. 1 Test ranking from South Africa after a long span of 4 years and 9 months (from August 2009 to April 2014), when Australia defeated South Africa 2-1 in a 3 match Test series, during Australia's tour of South Africa in 2014. His ODI shirt number of 23 was passed on to him by Shane Warne after his international retirement. Nicknamed "Pup", he is a right-handed middle-order batsman, an occasional left-arm orthodox spin bowler and also a slip catcher. He represented 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.
On 22 November 2012, Clarke scored a double century at the Adelaide Oval, making him the only Test batsman to ever achieve four double centuries in a calendar year. He won the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy, thereby winning the Cricketer of the Year 2013 and also the Test Cricketer of the Year 2013. He led Australia to a 5–0 whitewash of England in the 2013–14 Ashes series for the first time since 2006–07 Ashes series. He was named as a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 2010 Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. He was named Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World for the year 2012 in 2013 Wisden Cricketers' Almanack.
After announcing he would retire from One Day cricket after the end of the 2015 Cricket World Cup, Clarke starred in the final against New Zealand top scoring with a score of 74 off 72 balls, as Australia won their fifth World Cup title. He was bowled when nine runs were required to win and received a standing ovation from the 93,013 strong MCG crowd after his dismissal.
On August 8, 2015, Clarke announced that he would retire from all forms of cricket after the final test of the Ashes Series following a difficult series in terms of both his and the team's performance. Australia suffered a crushing defeat of an innings and 78 runs thus losing the Ashes. This was Clarke's fourth successive Ashes loss in England overall and his second as captain.
Michael Clarke made his first class debut for New South Wales as a seventeen-year-old in the 1999–2000 Sheffield Shield (then called the Pura Milk Cup). He made his One Day International debut in January 2003 against England at Adelaide and his Test debut for Australia in October 2004 against India. He was an AIS Australian Cricket Academy scholarship holder in 1999–2000. Clarke also played at an English Club Team in 2002 (Ramsbottom Cricket Club).
On 1 May 2012 Clarke made his debut in the Indian Premier League for Pune Warriors India.
In 2013 Clarke was named captain of the Sydney Thunder in Australia's Twenty20 Big Bash League. Due to international commitments and injury, Clarke did not play any games for the Thunder and they went on to lose all eight games and finish bottom of the ladder.
Clarke was chosen to make his Test debut against India at Bangalore, in 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 [sic] 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 leading both the batting and bowling averages for the series 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 five in the batting line up. He had a superb tournament making four 50s 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 four balls for three 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 seven-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 two 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.
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 eight 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 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.
Clarke has been unpopular with some members of the public. Some of the criticism revolves around his batting position at number five in Australia's Test line-up, with detractors accusing him of using much more inexperienced batsmen to protect him by having them bat higher up the order.
Clarke has won the Allan Border Medal, considered to be the most prestigious individual prize in Australian cricket, four times, in 2005, 2009 (jointly with Ricky Ponting), 2012 and 2013. Only Ponting has won it as many times.
In Feb 2015, just before the start of the World Cup, former Australian captain Ricky Ponting said that while Clarke should lead the team in the World Cup, he should hand over the reins of captaincy to Steven Smith after the event.
Clarke was named as captain of Australia's Twenty20 side in October 2009, taking over from Ricky Ponting, who retired from Twenty20 International cricket in order to prolong his career. In January 2011, Clarke was named as stand-in captain for the fifth Test of the 2010-11 Ashes Series at the SCG, replacing the injured Ricky Ponting. He announced his retirement from Twenty20 International cricket on 7 January 2011, to concentrate on the longer forms of the game. When Ponting stood down from the captaincy of the Australian Test and ODI sides after the 2011 World Cup, Clarke was appointed as his permanent replacement in both roles.
In January 2012, in the second Test of Australia's home series against India and after a string of Test centuries since becoming captain, Clarke became the first Australian batsman since Matthew Hayden in 2003 to score a triple hundred. He joined with Ricky Ponting (134) in a partnership of 288, then added 334 with Michael Hussey (150*) before declaring on 329*, having started his innings with the score at 37/3. This match against India was the 100th test to be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground, and Clarke's score was both the highest ever made in an Australia-India test (surpassing V. V. S. Laxman's 281 from the 2000/01 season) and the highest ever achieved at the ground. The ground high score record had been held for more than a century by Englishman Reg "Tip" Foster's 287 scored in the 1903/04 season. Clarke led Australia to a 4–0 win and was named the player of the series, having scored 626 runs at an average of 125.20. He joined his triple century in Sydney with a double-century (210) in the first innings of the fourth Test in Adelaide. His 386-run partnership with Ponting (who scored 221) was the fourth-highest in Australian Test history. Following the Frank Worrell Trophy 2012, Ian Chappell said Clarke "is quickly establishing a well-deserved reputation for brave and aggressive captaincy. His entertaining approach is based on one premise: trying to win the match from the opening delivery. This should be the aim of all international captains, but sadly it isn't."
Three weeks before 2013 Ashes Series, Michael Clarke requested to stand down from his role as a selector, which also coincided with the sacking of coach Mickey Arthur and the naming of Darren Lehmann as his successor. After the first Ashes Test against England at Gabba, Clarke was fined by ICC for using abusive language towards James Anderson. He regained the coveted Ashes on 17 December 2013 at Perth after four years, and subsequently led Australia to a 5–0 whitewash of England in the 2013–14 Ashes series.
Clarke had been struggling with injuries in 2014, and it was evident with the loss against Zimbabwe in the triangular series, after which he returned home for treatment having aggravated his hamstring injury. Later in the year, during the first Test in Adelaide Oval on the first Test since the death of Phillip Hughes. Clarke initially retired hurt at 60 after re-injuring his back, an issue he has had since his teenage years, then returned to score 128 on the first innings, but he went off the field again after tearing his right hamstring while fielding on the fifth day. After the win, Clarke has hinted that his cricketing career may be over after he ruled himself out for the rest of the series. Steve Smith was appointed as captain for the remainder of the series against India in Clarke's absence.
On 24 December 2014, Clarke joined Channel Nine's commentary team for the Boxing Day Test. Clarke captained the Australian team for 2015 Cricket World Cup, where Australia co-hosts the tournament with New Zealand.Australia defeated New Zealand in final and won the World Cup under the captaincy of Michael Clarke. This was Australia's fifth World Cup and the first team to won 5 World Cups.
Clarke announced that he would retire from One Day Cricket at the conclusion of the 2015 Cricket World Cup. Clarke played 244 ODIs, made 7907 runs at an average of 44.42 with 8 centuries and 58 half-centuries. He led his country in 73 matches, of which Australia won 49.
Clarke announced that he would retire from all forms of cricket at the end of 2015 Ashes series after losing the 4th match and losing all of his away Ashes series as a player and captain. In the 5th match, where Australia gained a consolation win, it marked the first and only time where Clarke had enforced the follow-on.
During the Australian Cricket tour of New Zealand in March 2010, Clarke left the tour to return to Sydney for "personal reasons". In a late night press conference on 12 March 2010, Clarke's management confirmed he and then-fiancee, model Lara Bingle (now Worthington), had decided to terminate their engagement. 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."
Clarke married model and presenter Kyly Boldy on 15 May 2012. On 8 July 2015, the couple announced that they were expecting their first child. On 17 November, it was reported that Clarke's wife had given birth to a baby girl. They named her Kelsey Lee.
He was very close to former Australian test opener Phil Hughes, and was very grieved at the 25-year-old's untimely passing after being hit in the neck by a bouncer during a Sheffield Shield game. He considered Hughes as a brother, even when he has no blood brothers. He requested Cricket Australia to retire Hughes' jersey number, 64, which was accepted. He also offered support to Sean Abbott, laying no blame or fault against him, and offering to be his batting practice buddy when he felt ready to bowl again.Clarke's debut Test score of 151 was made against India in Bangalore, 2004–05; he then made 141 against New Zealand in November 2004 on his debut on home-soil at the Gabba (Brisbane, Australia), making him the only Australian to score a century on both home and away debuts.
His best Test bowling figures of 6 for 9 (6.2) came against India, Mumbai, 2004–05.
His first Ashes century came in December 2006, when he hit 124 at the Adelaide Oval to help Australia to victory.
He dismissed India's last three batsman in five balls on the fifth day of the 2nd Test against India on 6 January 2008.
He won Australian Man of the Series in the 2009 Ashes Series. He was nominated by England team director Andy Flower for his "excellent batting".
He was named full-time one-day and Test captain of Australia on 29 March 2011.
Clarke's highest Test batting score of 329* was made on 5 January 2012 against India. This is the highest Test match batting score at the Sydney Cricket Ground, and the fourth best Test match batting score of all time by an Australian.
Clarke followed up his 329* in Sydney with 210 in Adelaide, thereby joining Don Bradman and Wally Hammond as the only players to have made a triple century and a double century in the same series.
Clarke's score of 259* made at the Gabba on 9 November 2012 against South Africa is the highest Test score at the ground.
Clarke is the only Test batsman to reach four double centuries in a single calendar year, with a double century (230) at the Adelaide Oval on 22 November 2012.
Clarke's highest ODI batting score of 130 was made against India, at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore, 2007
His best ODI bowling figures of 5 for 35 came against Sri Lanka, at Dambulla, 2003–04
He was the captain of Australia for the 2009 One Dayers as well as Twenty20 matches vs England
He was named full-time one-day and test captain of Australia on 29 March 2011.