The cricketing world was shocked with the aftermath of the Australian ball-tampering scandal which cost former captain Steve Smith, former vice-captain David Warner and opener Cameron Bancroft a year of their cricketing careers.
Another shocking thing to come out of the whole saga was the indicative offer from former captain Michael Clarke to make a full-fledged return to the Australian team. Veteran cricket reporter Robert Craddock revealed the story behind breaking the most brilliant news in recent times.
Clarke called time on his career after losing the Ashes three years ago and winning the 2015 World Cup at home. But recently he had said that he would do anything to help the national team and the game in Australia and had messaged Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland to tell him that but was yet to receive a response.
The story gained massive traction, before Clarke, who is in India on IPL commentating duties, clarified his stance on Twitter.
This article is out of control! Let me make very clear that I have not sent any formal offer to James Sutherland to come back and play cricket. I sent him a message as a friend offering to help Australian cricket in ANY way I could (this could mean mentoring the under 14s)— Michael Clarke (@MClarke23) April 8, 2018
I won’t be batting in the nets in India in preparation for a comeback ???????????? and as I have always said the game owes me nothing, I owe it everything. Have a great Sunday ????????— Michael Clarke (@MClarke23) April 8, 2018
“He is one of the least self-aware major figures you can get,” Craddock said on SEN’s Whateley. “Let’s just go through this timeline. The Sunday Telegraph got a call from Clarke’s management late last week, so (journalist) Phil Rothfield was basically pulled off the gossip rounds to go and have coffee with Michael Clarke to do a story with him, which Michael Clarke wanted.”
“He wanted that story in the paper. If you pull up the online version of it, it has an embedded recording with Michael Clarke. Yeah, sure, the headline might have been a little bit stronger than the story, but the story was there,” Craddock further revealed.
Clarke, in an interview to The Daily Telegraph, said that he was fitter than ever and is desperate to give back to the sport of cricket.
“I’ve never cared about age. Brad Hogg played at 45,” Clarke said. “I don’t think it’s about a number. I think it’s about commitment and devotion. It’s like getting back on a bike. I’m as fit and healthy as I’ve ever been. The time away has been great for my body. To be honest, I’m so nervous about the headline and how it’s perceived. But I can’t just sit here and do nothing. I feel I owe the game too much.”
Clarke had a glittering career that saw him score 8643 runs in 115 Tests and chalk up 28 centuries, which was marred by a chronic back problem, which brought a premature end to his career.
An emotional Clarke was asked whether he would consider returning to skipper the national team three years after his retirement in the aftermath of the ball tampering scandal.
“If I was asked by the right people, then I would think about my answer,” Clarke said on Channel Nine’s Sports Sunday.
“This is so raw right now. This is not about me at all,” he said. “This is about Australian cricket and the future of Australian cricket and where these current players and this current structure and leadership sits, and my job is to make sure I can help this game come back from this.”
The reaction on social media to news of a possible Clarke comeback was largely negative and Craddock isn’t keen on the idea.
“He wanted to make a comeback and was putting his toe in the water ... my feeling is no way,” Craddock said.