New Zealand v Australia, 1st Test, Wellington March 17, 2010

Clarke breaks silence and is ready for Test

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Michael Clarke has spoken publicly for the first time since his sudden departure from Australia's tour and his subsequent break-up with Lara Bingle. Clarke fronted a packed media conference at Wellington's Westpac Stadium, where he mentioned the support he had received from Shane Warne and insisted the media frenzy following him and his former fiancée would not affect the focus on his cricket.

"I have spoken to Warney," Clarke said. "I've spoken to a lot of my friends and my family. He's been a wonderful friend of mine for a long time and he was excited to see me back in New Zealand and wished me all the best for Friday's Test match."

Clarke made a hasty exit during Australia's one-day series when he flew back to Sydney to deal with his relationship issues, which were followed intensely by the Australian tabloid press. About 30 members of the media, some of whom will return home before the Test begins, surrounded Clarke but he said he was solely concentrating on preparing for the game.

"I made the decision firstly to go home but then to come back to New Zealand knowing that there was a big Test match starting on Friday," he said. "I knew I'd be capable to get up for that. Preparation has been very important to me throughout my whole career and it's no different now. Yesterday it was important to get back in the nets and have a good bat, see that red ball."

Being back in the team environment will no doubt be a welcome change for Clarke, who over the past week and a half has woken to see photographers and TV cameras trained in on his Sydney apartment, waiting for any glimpse of him or Bingle. Clarke said he never expected there would be so much interest in his personal life but accepted it was an inevitable part of being a high-profile sportsman.

"It's part of what we do," Clarke said. "Being a professional athlete it's not just about what you do on the field it's what you do off the field as well. We have to accept that and for me it was important to do what I had to do in my personal life and it's important for me now to be back with my team-mates and make sure I'm concentrating on playing a Test match for Australia.

"[Going home] was obviously something that I thought was very important and needed to be done and I did that. My team-mates were fantastic and very supportive. Cricket Australia, the ACA, all my friends and family have been wonderful. That's obviously why I'm back here now, trying to get out there on Friday and perform in Australia."

Clarke said he would "have to wait and see" if his opponents tried to distract him from the game with a few personal sledges come Friday. The New Zealand fast bowler Chris Martin said on Tuesday that he hoped the players would treat Clarke with respect, but Clarke expected at least the crowd at the Basin Reserve would get stuck in to him.

"I'm sure I'll get a little bit of stick [from the crowd] but I don't mind that," Clarke said. "No matter where you go around the world, every country wants their team to win and do well, so we'll wait and see what happens on Friday but I don't think that will affect me too much.

"I've copped a fair bit of sledging in my time, whether it be about stuff on the field or off the field. We'll just have to wait and see [if the players will sledge]. But I have the utmost respect for the New Zealand guys and I'm sure they're the same so we'll play it by ear, but I'm sure it won't affect me."

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY aeeo1 on | March 22, 2010, 7:58 GMT

    the freedom of speech is always overlooked!pup's tricks on the field are nothing to be reflected over his personal life...sum stupid comments for sure by some readers.pup has always been a strong sporting character and some of the magical wins aussies acheived were fully crafted by clarke.we just hope hope he does even better in cricket and in his life.good luck pup!

  • POSTED BY kriketluva on | March 18, 2010, 11:35 GMT

    Do I hear right? Do I hear the aussies expect clarke / pup not to be sledged in spite of his poor choice in women? I say sledge the sledgers. Chirp the chirpers. They admit they will never stop harassing the opposition players and they expect mercy for this pup? I say give him and them a dose of their own medicine. Push them till they want to assault you with a bat. That's what they dish out and that's what they should expect. No mercy on pup. Harass him to the hilt. Test his ability to handle being harassed. Come on! You dish it out, you can take it, right?

  • POSTED BY KCKCKC on | March 18, 2010, 4:40 GMT

    Who cares about Bingle and him being single? Anyone checked out his ODI and test averages this season? Not quite a vice captain's deliverables. Over rated cricketer with too much hype. Definitely not in Ponting's league as a batsman and light years away from Steve Waugh and Mark Taylor as a leader.

  • POSTED BY wanderer1 on | March 18, 2010, 1:12 GMT

    Don't worry Clarkey, plenty more Sheila's in the sea.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2010, 0:36 GMT

    cricinfo is turning into a gossip news site instead of sports news ...and yaa forgot to mention supporting the biggest match fixing event in the history of cricket...IPL..how nice..

  • POSTED BY rdp1337 on | March 17, 2010, 20:19 GMT

    Why cricinfo is giving so much of importance to Clarke's personal life, he is just ordinary cricketer. I believe cricinfo should put more emphasis on AUS-NZ test series, that is where action lies.

  • POSTED BY green_jelly on | March 17, 2010, 19:00 GMT

    Agree with Ananthu.. Aussies are the biggest hypocrites when it comes to on field behavior. I hope Clarke gets sledged by every team.

  • POSTED BY Tazelaar on | March 17, 2010, 17:46 GMT

    Look forward to Pup's batting average going up now :)

  • POSTED BY gudolerhum on | March 17, 2010, 14:32 GMT

    some bloggers are just over the top. It is their view or everyone else is off base. Michael Clarke has dealt with a difficult personal matter as discreetly as he was allowed to. Cricinfo reported it as simply as they could. Clarke has not whinged for sympathy, he wants to get on with his game. But some bloggers want to make an issue or complain. The world is the world, no changing it. Good luck mate, just do your best.

  • POSTED BY vama on | March 17, 2010, 12:45 GMT

    aussies are the best... no matter what happens in their personal life they try and don't let those issues reflect upon their and the team's performance and as far as michael clarke is concerned i guess he'll do very well. i just wish all players good luck for the upcoming test and also the future matches. just do well....all the best

  • POSTED BY aeeo1 on | March 22, 2010, 7:58 GMT

    the freedom of speech is always overlooked!pup's tricks on the field are nothing to be reflected over his personal life...sum stupid comments for sure by some readers.pup has always been a strong sporting character and some of the magical wins aussies acheived were fully crafted by clarke.we just hope hope he does even better in cricket and in his life.good luck pup!

  • POSTED BY kriketluva on | March 18, 2010, 11:35 GMT

    Do I hear right? Do I hear the aussies expect clarke / pup not to be sledged in spite of his poor choice in women? I say sledge the sledgers. Chirp the chirpers. They admit they will never stop harassing the opposition players and they expect mercy for this pup? I say give him and them a dose of their own medicine. Push them till they want to assault you with a bat. That's what they dish out and that's what they should expect. No mercy on pup. Harass him to the hilt. Test his ability to handle being harassed. Come on! You dish it out, you can take it, right?

  • POSTED BY KCKCKC on | March 18, 2010, 4:40 GMT

    Who cares about Bingle and him being single? Anyone checked out his ODI and test averages this season? Not quite a vice captain's deliverables. Over rated cricketer with too much hype. Definitely not in Ponting's league as a batsman and light years away from Steve Waugh and Mark Taylor as a leader.

  • POSTED BY wanderer1 on | March 18, 2010, 1:12 GMT

    Don't worry Clarkey, plenty more Sheila's in the sea.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2010, 0:36 GMT

    cricinfo is turning into a gossip news site instead of sports news ...and yaa forgot to mention supporting the biggest match fixing event in the history of cricket...IPL..how nice..

  • POSTED BY rdp1337 on | March 17, 2010, 20:19 GMT

    Why cricinfo is giving so much of importance to Clarke's personal life, he is just ordinary cricketer. I believe cricinfo should put more emphasis on AUS-NZ test series, that is where action lies.

  • POSTED BY green_jelly on | March 17, 2010, 19:00 GMT

    Agree with Ananthu.. Aussies are the biggest hypocrites when it comes to on field behavior. I hope Clarke gets sledged by every team.

  • POSTED BY Tazelaar on | March 17, 2010, 17:46 GMT

    Look forward to Pup's batting average going up now :)

  • POSTED BY gudolerhum on | March 17, 2010, 14:32 GMT

    some bloggers are just over the top. It is their view or everyone else is off base. Michael Clarke has dealt with a difficult personal matter as discreetly as he was allowed to. Cricinfo reported it as simply as they could. Clarke has not whinged for sympathy, he wants to get on with his game. But some bloggers want to make an issue or complain. The world is the world, no changing it. Good luck mate, just do your best.

  • POSTED BY vama on | March 17, 2010, 12:45 GMT

    aussies are the best... no matter what happens in their personal life they try and don't let those issues reflect upon their and the team's performance and as far as michael clarke is concerned i guess he'll do very well. i just wish all players good luck for the upcoming test and also the future matches. just do well....all the best

  • POSTED BY on | March 17, 2010, 12:43 GMT

    now clarke would be very happpy after rid of from critical situation

  • POSTED BY Kurapati on | March 17, 2010, 12:29 GMT

    @ Gaurav Nagarkar!!! Dude, that was awesome

  • POSTED BY on | March 17, 2010, 11:55 GMT

    Clark should understand clearly about Personal Life & Professional Life ..... people may criticize him lot . Personal life is also very important . Nothing left in cricket for him after 40 years on that time it's only or major personal life is left .Now it's time to concentrate on cricket .

    I wish him recover from the issue & concentrate on cricket . All the best in cricket ....

  • POSTED BY knmc on | March 17, 2010, 11:55 GMT

    a rich man passes wind also a BIG NEWS for media........ he is just another bloke....

  • POSTED BY Misfortune on | March 17, 2010, 11:52 GMT

    hey guys,everyone gets bad time!we should think that what would've we done on that situation!i mean we must have some sympathy for them! whatever they are,we are not of that kind!!!!

  • POSTED BY Vindaliew on | March 17, 2010, 11:32 GMT

    While I understand that it's often accepted that if a man can't manage himself and his family, he can't possibly manage his team well, it's not his wife. It's his fiancee, so perhaps we should give him a break. There's been no vow of commitment, no broken promises, no breach of trust etc..

  • POSTED BY Ellis on | March 17, 2010, 11:14 GMT

    The Aussies have always been known as a team that could dish it out, but became cry babies when they got it back. Clarke not least amongst them. If you live by the sword, you die by the sword. The NZ team does not need lessons from the Aussies about when they can, and cannot, sledge. Clarke has taken actions that relate to solving issues in his personal life. Cricket followers want to see him perform on the field. They are largely uninterested in the gossip dug up by the media. While I am not a fan of his, I wish him luck and success.

  • POSTED BY Mahiru on | March 17, 2010, 11:00 GMT

    well its glad to see a great player back, but i guess he shud be able to get on with sledging.. coz aussies should be the last to complain about personal sledging coz they are the ones who started(invented) it..how can it be wrong when its other way round?? i guess its time for aussies to get some of their own medicine..

  • POSTED BY NBRADEE on | March 17, 2010, 10:38 GMT

    Don't really care much about Aussie cricketers and their off the field problems, but when cricinfo.com has the audacity to stage this link first in previews of the Aussie tour to New Zealand, you have to wonder if they really know anything about their core base of fans - aye, report on de cricket not on de blonde boy's business, cool???

  • POSTED BY Dragonpig on | March 17, 2010, 10:22 GMT

    I'm a South African and obviously support South Africa, not too big a fan of the Aussies though but they are a good team and have good players. I just want to know why these journalists feel the need to include his private life, just leave him and his (ex) fiancee alone. It's got nothing to do with cricket, yes it made him leave the tour for a few days but leave it out. . .The guy needs your support to play good cricket not you guys crowding around him making his personal life difficult

  • POSTED BY on | March 17, 2010, 10:11 GMT

    It will be fantastic if M Clarke can stand up and get a big score. Not sure why he ever was with her anyway this is girl who pursued footballer B Fevola knowing he was married, anyhows Go Clarke hope you do well.

  • POSTED BY popcorn on | March 17, 2010, 9:52 GMT

    My respect for you gets bigger by the day,Pup! You are a Top Dog now! You have displayed great maturity and the RIGHT focus and Qualities to lead Australia when Punter retires. Show them who you are ,Pup! With your great fielding - your superb catching, your throw down of the stumps to run out many, your dancing down the pitch to play spinor pace, and your twinlkle toes to score century after century.Let the games begin!

  • POSTED BY jazzmaster on | March 17, 2010, 9:51 GMT

    Interesting photo of Michael Clarke. The past week has obviously changed him from a cricketing superstar to a Super-man, who wears his undies and his protective gear outside his pants!

  • POSTED BY Fifthman on | March 17, 2010, 9:35 GMT

    I think the commentators should adopt Cockney rhyming slang and instead of referring to 'running a quick single' they should say 'running a quick Lara'.

    Especially when Pup is in the middle...

  • POSTED BY schnoggs on | March 17, 2010, 9:22 GMT

    The aussie press dont have much else to write about and no doubt this is all over the front page news as well as the first story on channel 9 news. As a saffa, I still cant believe the crap that makes their 8pm news - "Rodney the kangaroo escapes from the zoo" - ridiculous. Although I suppose its better than hearing about murder, death, kill here in SA.

  • POSTED BY frankjose on | March 17, 2010, 9:14 GMT

    Come on Clarke. All of a sudden you are a saint now!!! You sowed the seeds that you are about to reap. Don't worry. Next time you come to India, we will still keep Bingle in mind.

  • POSTED BY ThirteenthMan on | March 17, 2010, 9:03 GMT

    Hi Saifullah and SaKiran. The only reason journalists write the stuff is there *are* people interested. It is sad, but true. Just look at the following for the WAGS of the England football team.

  • POSTED BY Doogius on | March 17, 2010, 8:36 GMT

    Suddzy. Just to jog your memory, the McGrath sledge concerned the taste of Laras appendage, whereas the Sarwan sledge concerned McGraths wife. Of course, other countries dont go after parentage, they go after race. Tera maki anyone? Ozzies are worse than what they say, but so is everyone else. For the record (as an ozzy) I say give it to Clarky. If your going to give it out (and he does :) you have to be able to take it. Clarky, if your going to stick your neck out champ, especially in Oz, it will be cut off.... and Anan - harbi once asked Clarky on the field (Kochi OD, 2008) if he wanted a fight. He wanted a punchup on the field and you think he said tera maki. Dolt.

  • POSTED BY PeacefulWarrior on | March 17, 2010, 8:28 GMT

    He's nothing but trash and he deserves never to set foot within an Australian dressing room again. I'm sorry but playing for Australia should mean something - not being at the beck and call of you so-called girlfriend. And only people that understand that it means something should be allowed to play for Australia.

    At least Damien Marytn has the decency to retire (and let Clarke back into the team) when his old lady came between him and the team.

  • POSTED BY muski on | March 17, 2010, 8:21 GMT

    Andrew Symonds must be having a good laugh at all this. Who said life does not turn a full cycle? God knows what support Warnie could have given him considering that Warnie was no saint himself. Cricinfo could do well to keep away from sensationalizing such issues. You could be refreshingly different from the great Indian News Channels who keep ramming down the throat of hapless viewers the so called" Breaking News".

  • POSTED BY on | March 17, 2010, 7:34 GMT

    Smash em clarky..........

  • POSTED BY PirAliRaza on | March 17, 2010, 7:25 GMT

    I completely agree with Ananthu Santhanagopalan. Aussies should be ashamed for asking 'not to stoop so low'. Michael Clarke should be sledged till he drops on his knees crying.

  • POSTED BY I.Beecken on | March 17, 2010, 7:11 GMT

    It shouldnt matter what country the players are from when it comes to incidents like this one. The players personal lives should be just that PERSONAL. There really should be laws as to how far these so called journo's can go. I didnt catch which N.Z. player said he wouldnt be one to sledge Clarke over the Bingle thing, but who ever it was deserves to be congratulated. I look forwards to seeing a tight couple of tests. Go Clarkey..

  • POSTED BY on | March 17, 2010, 6:39 GMT

    come round soon ............................ we know your capabity....................................................

  • POSTED BY on | March 17, 2010, 5:54 GMT

    Aussies are the worst when it comes to personal sledging. I am quite surprised with Hussey's comment that 'New Zealand will not stoop so low to sledge him on this"... Remember the Ganguly - Nagma contreversy when Aussies sledged him on this. But now they expect different treatment. I think the whole monkey gate issue was a drama by the Aussies who have set the standards for sledging as they have done for brilliant cricket on the field.

  • POSTED BY sudzz71 on | March 17, 2010, 5:29 GMT

    A bit rich considering the Aussies don't consider sledges about peoples parentage etc a taboo subject, Similarly when the Aussies sledged Sarwan etc that was somehow ok but now when the shoe is on the other foot it somehow seems like its not acceptable??

    Clarke himself has been pragmatic but lets see what really happens when he cop's it in the middle. Iam sure as a professional sportsman he will ignore most of it as long as it does not go completely overboard.

  • POSTED BY on | March 17, 2010, 4:56 GMT

    Hope Clarke would score a century and prove himself to the entire cricket world that he's a mentally & physically strong character...Wish you all the best man!! Shamalka from SL

  • POSTED BY on | March 17, 2010, 4:50 GMT

    this whole incident shows how pathatic the media is. I mean, we dont wanna know about cricketers private lives... and I am sure they don't want us to know.... so what do journalists think they are achieving other then a big fat paycheck for themselves?

  • POSTED BY on | March 17, 2010, 4:47 GMT

    Clarke speaks to Warne about relationships when in trouble...Huff It's like asking Tiger Woods about how to be faithful to your wife. :-)

  • POSTED BY Gupta.Ankur on | March 17, 2010, 4:09 GMT

    Well a conference was necessary for him considering the un-necessary hype going around in the media....

    Although it was a bad precedent but nonetheless he's back just in time and must score well.....

  • POSTED BY Easygoing525 on | March 17, 2010, 2:10 GMT

    Clark is mentally a very tough cricketer. His mental toughness will have a work out this week for sure once the first test between Aus and Nz begings. It's very good to see that the Aus cricket and clark's family and friends are behined him. All the cricket boards around the world must give support to their players so that cricket would be the ultimate winner. I wish Michael all the very best.

  • POSTED BY SaKiran on | March 17, 2010, 1:46 GMT

    Why should anybody bother about Clarke's personal life?

    This incident proves that the media is the same everywhere!

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY SaKiran on | March 17, 2010, 1:46 GMT

    Why should anybody bother about Clarke's personal life?

    This incident proves that the media is the same everywhere!

  • POSTED BY Easygoing525 on | March 17, 2010, 2:10 GMT

    Clark is mentally a very tough cricketer. His mental toughness will have a work out this week for sure once the first test between Aus and Nz begings. It's very good to see that the Aus cricket and clark's family and friends are behined him. All the cricket boards around the world must give support to their players so that cricket would be the ultimate winner. I wish Michael all the very best.

  • POSTED BY Gupta.Ankur on | March 17, 2010, 4:09 GMT

    Well a conference was necessary for him considering the un-necessary hype going around in the media....

    Although it was a bad precedent but nonetheless he's back just in time and must score well.....

  • POSTED BY on | March 17, 2010, 4:47 GMT

    Clarke speaks to Warne about relationships when in trouble...Huff It's like asking Tiger Woods about how to be faithful to your wife. :-)

  • POSTED BY on | March 17, 2010, 4:50 GMT

    this whole incident shows how pathatic the media is. I mean, we dont wanna know about cricketers private lives... and I am sure they don't want us to know.... so what do journalists think they are achieving other then a big fat paycheck for themselves?

  • POSTED BY on | March 17, 2010, 4:56 GMT

    Hope Clarke would score a century and prove himself to the entire cricket world that he's a mentally & physically strong character...Wish you all the best man!! Shamalka from SL

  • POSTED BY sudzz71 on | March 17, 2010, 5:29 GMT

    A bit rich considering the Aussies don't consider sledges about peoples parentage etc a taboo subject, Similarly when the Aussies sledged Sarwan etc that was somehow ok but now when the shoe is on the other foot it somehow seems like its not acceptable??

    Clarke himself has been pragmatic but lets see what really happens when he cop's it in the middle. Iam sure as a professional sportsman he will ignore most of it as long as it does not go completely overboard.

  • POSTED BY on | March 17, 2010, 5:54 GMT

    Aussies are the worst when it comes to personal sledging. I am quite surprised with Hussey's comment that 'New Zealand will not stoop so low to sledge him on this"... Remember the Ganguly - Nagma contreversy when Aussies sledged him on this. But now they expect different treatment. I think the whole monkey gate issue was a drama by the Aussies who have set the standards for sledging as they have done for brilliant cricket on the field.

  • POSTED BY on | March 17, 2010, 6:39 GMT

    come round soon ............................ we know your capabity....................................................

  • POSTED BY I.Beecken on | March 17, 2010, 7:11 GMT

    It shouldnt matter what country the players are from when it comes to incidents like this one. The players personal lives should be just that PERSONAL. There really should be laws as to how far these so called journo's can go. I didnt catch which N.Z. player said he wouldnt be one to sledge Clarke over the Bingle thing, but who ever it was deserves to be congratulated. I look forwards to seeing a tight couple of tests. Go Clarkey..