Michael Clarke returns to cricket, focus on T20s

Michael Clarke confirmed he would play for Sydney grade side Western Suburbs on Feb. 20-21.

By: Reuters | Melbourne | Published: January 31, 2016 12:42 pm
Michael Clarke, skipper Michael Clarke, Captain Michael Clarke, Michael Clarke return, Clarke return, IPL, cricket news, Cricket Michael Clarke has confirmed he would play for Sydney grade side Western Suburbs . (Source:AP)

Former Australian captain Michael Clarke will end his self-imposed exile from cricket with a club match next month, opening the way for a possible return to first class action, primarily in the Twenty20 format.

Clarke retired from international cricket last August following the Ashes series defeat by England, having already stepped down from the limited-overs format after the World Cup win on home soil earlier in 2015.

The 34-year-old batsman then opted against taking up the first year of a two-year deal with Big Bash League (BBL) franchise Melbourne Stars and announced he was taking an extended break from the game in September.

On Sunday, Clarke confirmed he would play for Sydney grade side Western Suburbs on Feb. 20-21, saying he missed the competitive side of the game and any possible return at senior level would concentrate on T20s.

“My focus is definitely the Twenty20 format,” the injury-prone Clarke told Australian Associated Press on Sunday.

“I was so focused when I was playing international cricket on Test and one-day cricket that I said ‘no’ to a lot of IPL (Indian Premier League) opportunities.

“I didn’t play a game in the Big Bash. I was resting my body through that time to make sure I was fit for Test and one-day cricket.

“Now I have the chance if I do enjoy it, that I can really focus on the shorter form and changing parts of my game to suit that form of cricket.”

Clarke suffered from injury issues in the latter years of his career but feels revitalised after a five-month break and believes he has some unfinished business with T20 cricket.

The stylish batsman averaged 49.10 in Tests and 44.58 in ODIs but was a disappointing 21.21 in 34 T20 internationals.

“It’s the one area that I certainly feel like I haven’t fulfilled my potential,” Clarke said.

“If I miss it and enjoy it, that will be my focus to come and play some Twenty20 cricket and try and master that format.”

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