Australia news September 2, 2015

Clarke withdraws from Big Bash League

ESPNcricinfo staff

Play 02:22
'We stand by Clarke' - Melbourne Stars president

Former Australia captain Michael Clarke has confirmed he will not play in the Big Bash League this year, having pulled out of his commitment to play for the Melbourne Stars. Clarke was to captain the side in the BBL this summer after signing a two-year contract in April, but following his retirement from Test cricket he has decided he needs some time away from the game.

"Right now for I just think my body and my mind need some time away from the game of cricket," Clarke told Triple M radio on Wednesday morning. "It's been a big part of my life and I just think that with my retirement from international cricket now I just need to take myself away from the game of cricket for a little while and just see what that's like to actually be without it.

"You push yourself to the max when you're playing sport at the highest level and now I've pressed stop on that part, in regards to international cricket, I just think my body and my mind just needs that break."

Clarke said he hoped to return to the field at some point in the future and would always remain involved in cricket in some way, having launched his own cricket academy last year. There is a chance he could yet play for the Stars in 2016-17.

"I've got a two-year deal at the moment so hopefully it all turns out okay and I come back and play next year," Clarke said, "but even if they decide they don't want me to play, hopefully I can help the club have success in another way."