Welcoming the news that Michael Clarke intends to reverse his retirement decision, coach Darren Lehmann and former star batsman Michael Hussey have said the former skipper’s experience could prove invaluable to Australia’s Twenty20 ambitions.
Clarke, who scored 8,643 runs in Tests and 7,981 in One-Day Internationals (ODI), quit after last summer’s Ashes series and will play for Sydney grade-team Western Suburbs in February. Western Suburbs, the club Clarke played for as a youngster, face Randwick Petersham in a two-day first-grade match at Pratten Park here, starting February 20.
“It’s great to have one of the greats back. He’s obviously missed the game, he loves the game, I’m pleased for him to come back. It’s good to have those guys back that have been greats of the game,” Lehmann said on Sunday.
“He’ll be great for the young guys in whatever format and teach them how to play. Which is what we want from our old guys, staying in the game.”
Lehmann said first Clarke needed to “fall in love with the game again” but his path back to international cricket would not be fast-tracked.
“He’ll have to score some runs as everyone else does. He sounds in a really good space with his body. It was a really big concern for him over the past couple of years. He’s really fit, he’ll be good to go,” Lehmann added.
Hussey said the T20 circuit was “perfect” for veteran players and could provide the right mix to Clarke’s competitive desires, while not proving too onerous for his chronic back condition.
“You are not away from home as much. As an Australian player you are away 10 months of the year and it is really stressful and there’s a lot of pressure,” Hussey was quoted as saying by news.com.au.
“Whereas in T20 tournaments, you can literally come in a week before — you train yourself prior of course — and you can enjoy the cricket and play the game as hard as you can.”