Michael John "Pup" Clarke was born on April 2, 1981, Liverpool, NSW. He was a technically correct right-handed batsman, highly-regarded fielder and left-arm orthodox spin bowler.
He made his debut for New South Wales as an eighteen year old in 2000 Australian domestic season for NSW.
Clarke made his Australian debut in an ODI against England at Adelaide in Jan 2003.
Clarke was chosen to make his Test debut against India at Bangalore, October 2004. Clarke handled the spin of Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh with aplomb, making 151 in a dominant win for Australia.
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 made a permanent return to both the Test and ODI teams and entrenched his position with several brilliant batting performances. Clarke notched up his fifth Test century against Sri Lanka in a two Test series at home in 2007.
In 2007, Clarke was named as captain of Australia for their one-off Twenty20 game against New Zealand in Perth, after deciding to rest Ponting and Hayden.
Clarke spun Australia to an unexpected win over India at the SCG in the 2nd Test in 2008 amidst an acrimonious match which subsequently almost halted the tour in the "monkey-gate" issue.
In Jan 2009, Clarke stroked a beautiful 138 in Australia’s first innings against South Africa in Sydney, setting up a big win. The only other Australian to pass fifty in the first innings was Mitchell Johnson. In the post match celebrations, he was famously grabbed by the throat by Simon Katich in the dressing room after Clarke wanted the proceedings to be would up quickly so he could leave early.
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. In the aftermath of the 2010/11 Ashes loss to England, Clarke was appointed as the Test captain taking over from Ricky Ponting.
While Clarke and Katich insisted that they had buried the hatchet soon after the 2009 incident, tensions lingered as Katich blamed his axing from the Australian side in 2011 on Clarke. “You don’t have to be Einstein to figure out that it’s not just the selectors that had a part in sending me on my way,” Katich said.
In 2013, Ricky Ponting’s autobiography, ‘At The Close of Play,’ led to new questions over Clarke’s standing as a team player. “It wasn’t that he was disruptive or treacherous, and publicly he said all the right things, but he had never been one to get too involved in planning sessions or debriefs at the end of a day’s play, or to volunteer to take on any of the captain’s workload,” Ponting wrote.
His epic 329 against India in Sydney in 2012 had Clarke in esteemed company, becoming only the third player to score a triple-century as Australian captain, after Bob Simpson and Mark Taylor.
Clarke's high point as captain was in the 2014/15 Ashes battle. He led Australia to a 5-0 whitewash of England, scoring two centuries.
On the tour of India in 2015, Clarke was involved in the decision to suspend four players in an incident dubbed 'homework-gate' after Shane Watson, Mitchell Johnson, James Pattinson and Usman Khawaja had failed to follow team orders between the second and third Tests of a series Australia went on to lose 4-0.
Clarke returned to the ODI team and went on to lead Australia to World Cup glory at home in 2015.
Clarke's final series was the Ashes tour in 2015. He lost the Ashes to a rampaging England team led by Alastair Cook. This was his 5th Ashes series defeat as a player and first loss as skipper. Clarke quit after being told by the Australia management he would not be in the side after the final Oval Test where he was averaging 16 in the first four Tests.
His overall Test record was good: 115 Tests, 47 as captain, 28 centuries with a batting average of 49.10.
Clarke had many detractors amongst his team mates. "You can't get on with everyone. To me he wasn't as natural a leader as what we've had in the past" said former Australian batsman Andrew Symonds.
Carroll, Kenneth E D
Duckworth, Christopher A R
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