Former Australian captain Michael Clarke, who got a clearance from Cricket Australia has signed as a crew member on the Perpetual Loyal maxi yacht for the Sydney to Gold Coast race on July 26 to help raise funds for children’s charities for medical equipment through the Loyal Foundation.

Clarke has several reasons to participate in the challenge as ‘Pup’, as he is widely known the opportunity as a better way of assisting the Foundation. Clarke said “Donating signed bats and shirts can only do so much. I have committed to a totally different and very challenging sport in order to bring attention to the cause,” Clarke quoted as saying by Cricket Australia‘s official website.

“This is the first time I have been able to join the Perpetual Loyal crew, as they’re usually setting off for Hobart at about the same time I am tossing a coin in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.”

Clarke hopes to learn in the meantime to give him a leading edge in the water sports. “It’s intimidating, it’s scary. I’ve never experienced being on the water like this,” Clarke said at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in Sydney on Tuesday. 

“My comfort zone is to play cricket at whatever level. It’s what I’ve done my whole life.

“So this is a new experience, a tough challenge and I’m excited, but there’s no doubt there’s a little bit of fear there as well.”

Clarke will also host the ‘Clarkey for Kids’ fundraising lunch on July 24.

“For some time I have been giving thought to how I can use my profile to make more of a difference to people in need,” Clarke said.

“During the last few years, I have witnessed first-hand the great work of our medical practitioners during very needy times for young children. However, I have also been made acutely aware of the shortage of life-saving medical equipment to assist our doctors.”

“Over the last few years, three infants very close to me have needed life-saving medical equipment to survive. My three-year-old nephew spent several weeks just after he was born in intensive care. My niece, who was born 10 weeks premature, is right now being looked after in an intensive care unit. While the doctors are doing an amazing job, there is a huge shortage of reliable medical equipment,” said the Australian cricketer.

“A few years ago my god-daughter was also looked after fabulously in an ICU; and now I want to do something for other children – and naturally their families – who need life-saving medical equipment. I hope that the Australian public and particularly my home town of Sydney can get behind me and the great cause of ensuring our children have the best possible technology when they are sick or injured.”

Clarke also added that “My focus is on Zimbabwe, the end of August we go to Zimbabwe for a tri-series against South Africa and Zimbabwe. Right now, that’s where my focus is.”