Australian news October 20, 2009

Clarke keen to play IPL next year

Cricinfo staff

Australia's new Twenty20 captain Michael Clarke will consider seeking an IPL contract next year as he aims to gain more experience in the shortest format. Clarke will lead Australia at the ICC World Twenty20 in the West Indies in May and he knows there is plenty of improvement required from his team in Twenty20 cricket.

Under Ricky Ponting, the Australians crashed out in the first round of this year's tournament and Ponting later retired from the format, leaving Clarke and new vice-captain Cameron White in charge. Clarke's own Twenty20 record is modest - he has played 25 matches without scoring a half-century - and an IPL stint could help him boost his form.

"There have been reasons why I haven't taken part in the last couple of IPLs," Clarke told a press conference at the SCG on Monday. "I've always said that it's a competition I would love to take part in at the right time. If the timing is right, if my body is healthy and I'm feeling good and a team wants me, it could be a great opportunity to prepare for what's going to be a huge Twenty20 World Cup."

Clarke knows finding a team willing to sign him could be easier said than done, given his Twenty20 record and his decision to pull out of the past two IPL auctions. Also working against him is the fact that he and several of his Australian colleagues will be unavailable until the final three weeks of the IPL due to their tour of New Zealand.

In any case, he must find a way to lift his men for the World Twenty20 against teams and individuals with far more experience in the format. Clarke, who is eyeing the No. 3 spot in the Twenty20 order following Ponting's retirement, said he would sound out his vice-captain White for Twenty20 advice - White has played 50 games over the past five years.

"I'll be looking to Cameron White as vice-captain and a lot of the other senior players who have played a lot more Twenty20 cricket than me," Clarke said. "It [Twenty20 ] is an area of our game that we're trying to work hard on and it's great to see New South Wales and Victoria over in the Champions League doing very well.

"I've played 19 games for Australia and the first half were about entertainment. We didn't know how seriously to take it. It's definitely changed over the last couple of years. No doubt cricketers in general take Twenty20 cricket a lot more seriously because it's a competition that's here to stay."