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Michael Clarke opts out of Big Bash League

Daniel Brettig

July 22, 2011

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Michael Clarke and his team-mates had a disappointing Australia Day, Australia v England, 4th ODI, Adelaide, January 26, 2011
Michael Clarke is standing apart from most of his Australian teammates by staying out of the BBL © Getty Images
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Daniel Brettig : Clarke makes priorities clear by skipping BBL
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Michael Clarke, the Australia captain, will take no part in the Twenty20 Big Bash League this summer, preferring to concentrate on his international commitments.

Extensive negotiations between Clarke, his management and the Sydney Sixers were unable to reach a workable compromise between the batsman's desire for rest and preparation in between Test series and Cricket Australia's desire to have as many contracted players as possible taking part in the BBL. Clarke had also conducted talks with numerous other teams.

"With the greatest respect to everybody involved in the T20 Big Bash League, I will not be committing for this year," Clarke said in a statement. "My goal is to play Twenty20 cricket domestically, for sure. But at the moment, I want to prioritise my time and commitment to my role with the Australian team.

"We have a big six months ahead, and my commitment and focus is with those teams. I am also only available for one BBL game this year, and that was a consideration as well."

Clarke's decision means both he and Mitchell Johnson will sit out the competition, while every other CA-contracted player, including the likes of Shane Watson, Brad Haddin, Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey, take part.

As CA's most high profile figure, Clarke's absence from the BBL launch in Sydney next week will be notable, but the latest instance of his degenerative back problems, during a practice fixture at the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane last week, provided a harsh reminder that physical management must be a priority for the national captain.

Stuart Clark, general manager of the Sixers, said Clarke's was a difficult decision, but a logical one in the circumstances that confronted him.

"Michael has chosen to concentrate on international cricket and I wish him all the best in that, we haven't shut the door on him playing for the Sixers in the future," Clark told ESPNcricinfo. "I think it would've been a difficult decision, he's got a lot to offer the BBL, but he's thought about it and decided to concentrate on the Australian team."

Mike McKenna, the BBL project owner and CA's head of marketing, said he could see why Clarke's decision had been made. "We understand and respect his decision," McKenna said, "and while we will miss him, the T20 BBL already offers fans a galaxy of international and national stars which will help galvanise fan excitement in year one."

Teams have finalised their initial lists of at least 14 players, with some squads having named their full 18-man groups. The remaining teams can wait until December to fill out their playing rosters. The Sydney Sixers have named England's Michael Lumb as their first overseas player, while in other final-day appointments, the fast bowler Ben Edmondson will return to Western Australia to play with the Perth Scorchers; Chris Swan has signed with the Brisbane Heat; and the Sixers locked in Dominic Thornely and Ian Moran.

The squads so far

Adelaide Strikers Aiden Blizzard, Cameron Borgas, Lee Carseldine, Tom Cooper, Adam Crosthwaite, Theo Doropoulos, Brendan Drew, Callum Ferguson, Daniel Harris, Michael Klinger, Nathan Lyon, Aaron O'Brien, Gary Putland, Kane Richardson. Overseas players: Kieron Pollard. Coach Darren Berry.

Brisbane Heat Ryan Broad, Nick Buchanan, Daniel Christian, Ben Cutting, Peter Forrest, Ryan Harris, Nathan Hauritz, James Hopes, Chris Lynn, Michael Neser, Chris Swan, (One further contract lodged, subject to approval). Overseas players: Brendon McCullum, Daniel Vettori. Coach Darren Lehmann.

Hobart Hurricanes Travis Birt, Mark Cosgrove, Xavier Doherty, Luke Feldman, Evan Gulbis, Ben Hilfenhaus, Michael Hogan, Phil Jaques, Matt Johnston, Jason Krejza, Nick Kruger, Ben Laughlin, Rhett Lockyear, Tim Paine, Ricky Ponting. Overseas players: Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Owais Shah. Coach Ali de Winter.

Melbourne Renegades Ryan Carters, Aaron Finch, Shane Harwood, Aaron Heal, Jayde Herrick, Michael Hill, Brad Hodge, Glenn Maxwell, Andrew McDonald, Brenton McDonald, Dirk Nannes, Nathan Reardon, Will Sheridan, Shaun Tait. Overseas players: Abdul Razzaq, Shahid Afridi. Coach Simon Helmot.

Melbourne Stars George Bailey, James Faulkner, John Hastings, Jon Holland, David Hussey, Alex Keath, Clint McKay, James Pattinson, Rob Quiney, Peter Siddle, Chris Simpson, Adam Voges, Matthew Wade, Cameron White. Overseas players: Luke Wright. Coach Greg Shipperd.

Perth Scorchers Tom Beaton, Michael Beer, Mark Cameron, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Ben Edmondson, Michael Hussey, Simon Katich, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Marcus North, Luke Pomersbach, Nathan Rimmington, Luke Ronchi. Overseas players: Paul Collingwood, Herschelle Gibbs. Coach Mickey Arthur.

Sydney Sixers Ed Cowan, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Brett Lee, Nic Maddinson, Ian Moran, Peter Nevill, Steve O'Keefe, Ben Rohrer, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Dominic Thornely, Shane Watson. Overseas players: Michael Lumb. Coach Trevor Bayliss.

Sydney Thunder Sean Abbott, Tim Armstrong, Nic Bills, Doug Bollinger, Luke Butterworth, Scott Coyte, Tim Cruickshank, Matthew Day, Luke Doran, Ben Dunk, Jason Floros, Phillip Hughes, Usman Khawaja, Craig Philipson, Daniel Smith, David Warner. Overseas players: Fidel Edwards, Chris Gayle. Coach Shane Duff.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by coatsie89 on (July 25, 2011, 12:59 GMT)

so........Malinga can play an ODI series or in the World Cup in future, or in the IPL and bowl I would assume everyday either during a game or in nets in between, but can't bowl 2 or 3 spells of 6/7 overs a day in a test match?!?!? I'm sorry but Malinga has taken the easy way out. How long did Flintoff continue with injury after injury, because he loved playing for his country whenever he possibly could. Cricket is going the way of football where too many players follow money and if cricket continues to go this way it will ruin the game. If Malinga was as passionate about playing for his country as someone like Flintoff, he would still be playing test cricket. He made the choice to play the IPL and every other form of cricket years ago.

Posted by Meety on (July 25, 2011, 5:51 GMT)

@ hyclass - I take a different spin on Pup's T20 appointment. I think it was a good thing as it showed that he has talent as a captain, which has also been shown in ODIs.

Posted by   on (July 25, 2011, 3:47 GMT)

Like most cricket lovers, I have absolutely no time for or interest in 'big bash'. It is the opposite of what I expect from cricket. Please stop trying to make quick bucks and invest more in our Shield and Test players.

Posted by   on (July 25, 2011, 3:43 GMT)

@coatsie89

Malinga has a persistent knee injury where he can not bowl for a long period of time. He made the right decision to quit test cricket and first class cricket in order to prolong his career in other formats. We dont want to lose a quality bowler such as Malinga in the game because people like you want him to play in the longer format of the game. I agree with you that test cricket is the ultimate format, however, Malinga's case should be an exception. He did not play for a few years because of his knee and he did try and return when he played against India where after the game he wasnt able to play for another 3 months. You might want to read upon that before commenting on Malinga in the future.

Posted by Meety on (July 24, 2011, 23:32 GMT)

@coatsie89 - disagree with your reasoning as to why Lumb & Wright will be a success in the BBL. I actually do think that Lumb is a reasonably good buy - but Wright has not impressed me & I think he is WAY overrated. The bowling in Oz is a whole lot better than you think. I think the Heat are short a strike bowler to go with Harris, but have great variety with Christian, Hopes, Hauritz & Vettori. The only other questionable bowling line up is the Hurricanes - but Naved, Hilfy & Hogan are better than the average 2nd division county line up! Slight question mark over the bowling line up for the Scorchers - but again Cameron, Coulter-Nile & Rimmington are good short format bowlers.

Posted by   on (July 24, 2011, 22:03 GMT)

Gayle force is back. Should be entertaining.

Posted by coatsie89 on (July 24, 2011, 12:04 GMT)

some of these comments are hilarious. Any money Michael Lumb and Luke Wright out perform most people in this competition. Hard pitches, a lack of strong bowling = those 2 piling up the runs. With regards to Clarke and Johnson, i have an enormous amount of resepect for both. You hear about far too many cricketers nowadays that put the kit on for the money and to play a game for 3 hours. The history of this great game starts with test cricket and when players like Clarke and Johnson (2 top quality players) step up and show the rest of the cricketing world how important test cricket is to the game, you can only give them great respect. Maybe Lasith Malinga could learn from Mitchell Johnson and start thinking about how poor his country's bowling attack is without him and focus on the best format of the game. The real quitters are those players that decide they want to only play the easiest form of the game in T20. The best cricketers in the world play test cricket. Thank you Mitch & Pup.

Posted by   on (July 24, 2011, 11:01 GMT)

Good choice. Hope other guys also learn from this....

Posted by   on (July 24, 2011, 10:30 GMT)

Indians stars should read this blog ,but the matter of fact is that they won't even like to talk about it, and we crazy Indian fans(I mean only Indian,not a superking or nightrider fan) will keep saying them to learn from Clarke...

Posted by VivGilchrist on (July 24, 2011, 9:29 GMT)

Good choice from Clarke....now if he could retire from ODIs so Ferguson, Finch, and Warner can make there way in.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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