July 04, 1980, Kew, Melbourne, Victoria
Right hand bat
Michael Klinger has spent almost an entire career awaiting the Australia call that looked like it would never come. He has been mentioned in despatches more than once, but Australia have always opted for the younger, or the more fashionable, player. Through it all, Klinger has just kept scoring runs, and a call-up belatedly arrived at the age of 36 when he was named in Australia's T20 squad for a series against Sri Lanka in February 2017. A technically-correct top-order batsman with a penchant for the front foot, and who made his first-class debut in the 1990s, he has adapted to changing teams, formats and roles, and shown an aptitude for captaincy.
Klinger started in his home state of Victoria as a teenager but his progress was initially slow, and it took him five seasons to score his first hundred. A move to South Australia came in 2008-09 and it was such a successful change that in his first summer he piled up 1203 Sheffield Shield runs at 70.76, and was later handed the state's captaincy. He led the Redbacks to the 2010-11 Big Bash title and the 2011-12 Ryobi Cup, but in the Shield the team struggled and Johan Botha took over the leadership for 2012-13.
A move further west came in 2014, when Klinger signed with Western Australia after being told by the Redbacks that his place in the side could not be guaranteed. Another thousand-run Shield season followed with the Warriors, second only to team-mate Adam Voges in the whole competition. But while a Test call-up came for Voges at 35, the similarly-aged Klinger received no such international attention, and had to settle for another productive season with Western Australia in 2015-16.
Although his batting style would seem best suited to the long format, Klinger has proven an exceptional batsman in one-day and T20 cricket, where his correct strokeplay and good judgment of when to go aerial has been just as effective as the more adventurous batting of younger colleagues. He earned an IPL deal with Kochi Tuskers Kerala and in 2011 and at the time of his international T20 call-up, he was the all-time highest run scorer in BBL history. All of that was enough to persuade him to become a limited-overs specialist as he reached his mid-30s.
Named captain of Gloucestershire in 2013, he enjoyed an outstanding season in the UK with over 2000 runs across all formats and was welcomed back for the next four seasons in all competitions before negotiating a T20-only deal. Nothing was more impressive than his 531 runs at an average of 132.75 in the Royal London Cup which, in 2015, played a huge part in Gloucestershire reaching their first Lord's final for 11 years. He travelled back from Australia for the semi-final against Yorkshire and defied jetlag to make a matchwinning hundred. In the final at Lord's, he made a third-ball duck but this time Gloucestershire won without his usual domination.
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