Michael Clarke - A cricketer who's not playing like a mortal
“He came, He saw, He conquered”. Michael Clarke has become a batsman that is in his own league altogether nowadays. He is thumping balls to score massively, having decisions in his favour that he has worked for and making records which bring him close to being named “Immortal”.
Michael Clarke, on his last frontier against South Africa where he scored a double hundred, was like a warrior going on a mission. He was focussed, clear in his mind and yes, precision was his lethal weapon to go along. In the last Test in Adelaide, he made sure that his golden runs for his squad have his name inscribed in the cricketing history. He became the record holder of having scored four double hundreds in a calendar year.
Nasser Hussain once stated, “When you are in form, you don’t think of the next ball and just play each delivery on its merit, without creating much fuss”. Michael Clarke did exactly the same when he played a gem of a knock in Adelaide. His batting against Imran Tahir was a crash course on how to play spin bowling for everyone who was watching. His feet movement was exemplary, his defence (on rare display amidst an attacking innings) was immaculate and his head position while playing strokes was close to being called perfect.
Michael Clarke came in to bat when Australia was tottering at 55/3. Just like the captain tries to calm the ship at the time of storm, Clarke was that influence for Australia that brought euphoria. When Steyn and Morkel were producing bullets from their armoury, Clarke was producing cuts, cover drives, pulls and flicks at will. He was not batting like a mortal.
My father always states, “You will learn the value of hard work only by working hard”. Michael Clarke’s cricketing career is a living example of these lines. His stints at the domestic level to reconstruct his technique have finally paid off, as a solid & mentally equipped Clarke walked on the 22 yards towards making history. His qualitative batting this year has resulted in accumulation of 1309 runs at an average of 119 so far.
Another intriguing element which Michael Clarke possesses in his game is leadership. He reminds me of the stature of a DON, who would do anything possible to make sure results are in his favour. People remember his captaincy when he scored 329* in Sydney and declared quite selflessly. For me, Michael Clarke’s role as a captain has been more than just numbers.
He is one of those few leaders of the game who would be called “game changers”. Remember the test series against India earlier this year? He churned out results from virtually improbable scenarios. When everyone has the word ‘DRAW’ in mind, Clarke can only remember ‘WIN’. His captaincy is somewhat related to Shane Warne. Both Warne and Clarke made sure that the game doesn’t stagnate. Results have been an ultimate priority for both of them.
Clarke practices his captaincy just like a gambler plays through his luck. A quote reads, “A character is not made in crisis; it is exhibited”. Michael Clarke has been an embodiment of the above lines. He is the go-to man when in crisis; a trait Australians felt he hinted at from the start of his career, but has now finally come to fore.
He is a leader having an immaculate demeanour that is expressed on the field. He is the first one cheering his boys when the going is tough. He is the one who’s shrugged off sledging from Australian veins and is currently the backbone of Australia.
Ricky Ponting stated, “His approach towards the game is quite different from mine”. He is different yet effective. It has been hard yards from Pup to make sure he plays the way he is playing today; not as a mortal.
Right now, he reflects what William Shakespeare quoted, “Give me my robe, put on my crown; I have immortal longings in me.” With a few innings still left this year, the total score of more than 1800 runs in a calendar year might not be an uphill task for this cricketer, who surely is not playing like a mortal.