Life won’t get any better than this for Michael Clarke.
In the space of 12 months, Clarke married a model, established himself as the most creative and industrious Australian captain since Mark Taylor and the world’s best batsman.
Clarke is at the top of his game in both batting and captaincy. He has scored four double centuries in one year- a feat that no man has accomplished before. He achieved this against highly fancied test teams in India and South Africa. Most impressively, Clarke has made the Australian batting lineup not look like a basket case.
Simply, Australian cricket will only go as far as Clarke takes it. Importantly, Australia’s Ashes fortunes lies almost entirely on the Australian captain. With a mix of declining or expired veterans (aka Ricky Ponting), and unproven young talent at the international level, Clarke is both Australia’s last line of defense and main protagonist. Everything starts and ends with the man who once struggled to win over the Australian public and even teammates.
His imagination and creativity in the field is refreshing as Australia’s past two captains, Ricky Ponting and Steve Waugh, were of the more stubborn and one-track mold. While Ponting sometimes refused to toss the ball to Simon Katich, Clarke happily entrusts Dave Warner or even Rob Quiney (who doesn’t even bowl for Victoria) to disrupt the batsman’s rhythm. This trust that Clarke instills in teammates like Warner rubs off on the rest of Australian XI and therefore makes everyone around him better, which is the true measurement of a leader and an athlete.
How far Clarke has come since being thrown against the wall by Simon Katich and dating the trashy Lara Bingle.