IPL 2012 April 28, 2012

Clarke shifts focus to IPL

ESPNcricinfo staff

With a successful tour of the West Indies completed, Australia captain Michael Clarke has now shifted his focus to what will be his first stint at the IPL. Clarke is expected to arrive in India on April 30, to join his franchise, Pune Warriors. This will be something of a Twenty20 return for Clarke, who last played in the shortest format in October 2010.

"The crowds look fantastic [at the IPL] and it's going to be nice. To be honest with you, to be back playing some Twenty20 cricket, I'm looking forward to that. I've never been to the IPL. I've said for a long time that when the opportunity comes up and I feel that it's right for me, I'd love to get over there and have a crack and see what it's like," Clarke said after the Dominica Test. "I am looking forward to it. We [Australia] have a good break this winter. I've only got two one-day tours the whole winter, so if I was ever going to go this is the opportunity."

In 2009, Clarke had pulled out of the IPL auction, citing Australia's busy schedule. He then retired from Twenty20 internationals in January 2011 in order to focus on ODIs and Tests. In fact, the only domestic Twenty20 games he has played were six matches way back in 2004, for Hampshire in England.

Clarke said he is happy to play under former India captain Sourav Ganguly and observe his method of working. "I think that Sourav's always been a nice guy. I've always got along with him well and I look forward to playing under him. It seems like he's doing a really good job as captain-coach over there, I've spoken to a couple of the boys and they seem to be really happy about how things are. So, yeah, for me it's an eye-opener."

At the time of signing Clarke, Warriors captain Ganguly had said the franchise were interested in Clarke, despite his lack of Twenty20 experience, since he has all-round ability. "He can bat and he can bowl. He is a big player," Ganguly had told ESPNcricinfo. Ganguly will now be hoping that Clarke's arrival will help thwart what has been a poor run for Warriors - the team had begun the tournament well, winning three of their first four games, but have since lost four of five.