Michael Clarke shuns records to show mark of a great captain
Michael Clarke has shown an improvement in both his thinking and his batting since taking over the Australia captaincy
Michael Clarke could have seemingly scored as many runs as he wanted on day three of the second Test against India.
Facing a flagging and dull Indian attack at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Clarke surely had numerous records in his sights at the start of the day, when he resumed on 251 not out.
Already on his highest ever first class score, Pup as he is known, would have first lined up membership to the triple century club.
He started cautiously, playing himself back in after a night’s rest. But, after lunch and 92 balls he became the seventh Australian to score a triple century. It was fine feat for an extremely consistent player and someone who has allowed captaincy to propel his batting, rather than quash it.
The landmarks were not all conquered though, and Clarke must have eyed the chance to post the highest score by an Australian captain, held by Mark Taylor (334), then the highest score by any Australian (Matt Hayden’s 380) before finally topping the achievement off with Brian Lara’s world record of 400.
After all, Clarke is the poster boy of Australian cricket. With a dashing smile and penchant for exceedingly large sponsorship deals and engagements to model girlfriends, the thought of fame and glory must have crossed his mind.
Maybe it would have crossed the old Clarke’s mind, the Clarke even Australians weren’t fond of. But this is a new man. The model girlfriend is no more, nor is the large sponsorship and with the added responsibility of captaincy, the mature 30 year-old shunned the opportunity.
Instead he chose to sacrifice all personal accolades for the sake of his team and the chance to win a Test match. Clarke showed the mark of a truly world class captain, and declared with a healthy lead, enough time in the game to bowl India out and with his personal score on 329.
Perhaps in days gone by the Pup of old would have lived up to his moniker, shown his naivety and chased the fame and limelight that a score nearing 400 would bring. Who knows if or when he will have another opportunity to break the record? However, his decision should be commended and his improvement in not only his thinking but also his batting has been outstanding since taking over the captaincy.
His decision was vindicated too, as India lost two wickets before the end of the day’s play leaving them with a truly uphill struggle to save the Test.
But the day belonged to Pup, for his batting, for his selflessness and for his maturity. Maybe it’s time he got a new nickname?