When the Sportskeeda team tried to get in touch with Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke, they were surprised to find him happily engaged in something completely unrelated to cricket: rally racing. In Queensland, Clarke made his maiden presence felt on a new pitch, by completing two stages at the Brakes Direct International Rally in style. He enjoyed the experience too.
“I always had a dream to drive a car in a rally and I enjoyed it well today,” said Clarke, who passed his first test in the car rally with ease, driving the Pomona and Imbil stages of the competition.
“Since my parents didn’t want to me take up any adventure sport, I never told them about my love for car racing. It’s really a great day for me as I could fulfill my long-standing dream of competing in a rally,” adds Clarke, who flew down directly to Queensland after playing his maiden season in the IPL for Pune Warriors.
“In the beginning, it was a bit difficult to drive on such terrains, but later on it was just more about learning and controlling the car. Things you got to do. It’s been great experience,” he said, adding, “It has given me great insight on how tough rallying can be; I feel that I need a lot of improvement in some areas.”
Known for his power-packed cover drives, Clarke, however, accepted that he didn’t even see the speedometer while driving his car as he was concentrating more on the curves of the roads ahead. “I could not see the speedo what with the camera mounted on it. It’s probably just as well. But I don’t know whose face seemed more worried – mine or my co-driver’s,” he said with a smile on his face.
While showering a lot of praise on Indian fans for the game of cricket, especially Indian Premier League, Clarke admitted that his next immediate target was the England tour. “I can look forward to rallying more once I leave cricket forever, but right now the England tour is very much in my focus.”
Talk moves, naturally, to the IPL, and his experience of playing for the Pune Warriors outfit in this year’s edition. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Clark minces no words in expressing how much he enjoyed the experience. “It was great fun playing in the IPL. I loved it. It is difficult to explain, unless you go there and see it for it yourself. Especially the way the Indians love the game and the way they back their team – I just love it.”
Clarke admitted that the selection of Australian team for the England tour was going to be a tough one as there were only slight differences in the performances of the players. “It’s a hard task for anyone, and I can understand how tough it’s going to be for the selectors.”
He, however, praised Mitchell Johnson ahead of the selection. “Mitch has been bowling really well. At his best in any form of the game he is always a valuable asset. I have been in touch with him and really look forward to him being in the squad,” finished Clarke.