Big Bash League 2014-15 July 3, 2014

Clarke unavailable for Sydney Thunder

Michael Clarke has quit the Sydney Thunder due to Australia's hectic international summer schedule for this season, declaring that he would prefer the club offer a contract to a younger player. Clarke has been part of the Thunder squad for the past two seasons but was never any more than a nominal presence useful in the club's marketing, given that the BBL clashes with Australia's Test and ODI season.

Not only is he yet to play a game for the Thunder, he is yet to make his debut in Australian domestic T20 cricket, having not played the format for New South Wales before the BBL was introduced. Clarke said with Australia's Test series against India and then the one-day tri-series with India and England occupying the December-January period, he was unlikely to debut this summer.

"Having looked at the fixture list for the upcoming summer it became apparent that my opportunities to play for the Thunder would be extremely limited," Clarke said.

"I think it is in the best interests of the club if I make myself unavailable for selection this season and allow the Thunder the chance to offer a contract to a younger player who would really benefit from the opportunity. I will continue to support the club and monitor the situation in future seasons regarding availability."

The struggling Thunder won only one match last season but that was an improvement on the previous year, when they had lost all eight games. They will be coached this season by Paddy Upton, who was named this week as the replacement for Chandika Hathurusingha.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • jayaesh on July 4, 2014, 9:22 GMT

    @IndianInnerEgde, Mitchell Stark might not have played last edition of IPL but he was very much a part of this IPL, So now in your book is Stark guilty of abandoning Gold Standard, get real mate for fans every format is important.Cricket apart from Indian Subcontinent is such a minority sports elsewhere and cricket fans are not helping the game by quarreling among themselves and getting touchy about various formats of the game.

  • Merv on July 3, 2014, 22:25 GMT

    Sorry but I have never heard of Sydney Thunder. As an Aussie however, Clarke wants a place in cricket history, to be remembered as a good captain, to have Test average over 50. All these goals are there in Test cricket. For the T20, and I assume "Sydney Thunder" is such team and not a wrestler's name or a tattoo on the arm of a big wheel truck driver, no one remembers T20 players or games after a week. Make two divisions, one for Test players - pay them well and restrict them to First Class cricket - and a second division of players for T20, a bit like the second class golf leagues.

  • Jay on July 3, 2014, 17:11 GMT

    @IndianInnerEdge: What are you talking about ? Sadly, you are in a minority my friend. Stuck in the same old ways. Guess what, the world is travelling too fast and you will miss the plane. Test cricket had its shot in the past. Now is the time of T20 - a glorious and magnificent format that invites new fans to the game. Even people who didn't care about cricket are now contemplating to view the sport. Test cricket pushes people away. It's long, boring and slow. A vast majority of Indians have intelligently realized this hence all the empty stadiums. Only England and to some extent Australia care for this dying format. The rest of the world not so much. Thankfully, that's the majority of the world. I am a proud T20 fan and will always be.

  • Vinod on July 3, 2014, 12:31 GMT

    Must be a terrific feeling to tell them 'You donot own me'....At least there are a few who place the purest form of the game - Test cricket as the gold standard.....last year i think it was Mitchell Starc who ommitted to play in the IPL to concentrate on tests...what a tremendous gesture from someone so young. Coming back to Clarke, it is agood decision as having the dodgy back that he has, would be better to have some rest and get ready for the big boy games........I only wish lot more from my country would take note and give test cricket its due instead of treating it like the unwanted cousin at the party and concentrating on IPL and various other t20 leagues round the world...

  • Bob on July 3, 2014, 9:26 GMT

    Looking forward to a big season from the Thunder (unless they're playing the Sixers though please). I predict Kallis will contribute well in the matches he plays and will benefit the younger guys.

  • Michael on July 3, 2014, 8:24 GMT

    Investing in and focusing on players like Clarke, Warner, and others who had international commitments was a mistake. If all their squad was available all of last year (including Eion Morgan and Dilshan) they would have at least made the finals.

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