Michael Clarke has quit the Sydney Thunder due to Australia's hectic international summer schedule for this season, declaring that he would prefer the club offer a contract to a younger player. Clarke has been part of the Thunder squad for the past two seasons but was never any more than a nominal presence useful in the club's marketing, given that the BBL clashes with Australia's Test and ODI season.
Not only is he yet to play a game for the Thunder, he is yet to make his debut in Australian domestic T20 cricket, having not played the format for New South Wales before the BBL was introduced. Clarke said with Australia's Test series against India and then the one-day tri-series with India and England occupying the December-January period, he was unlikely to debut this summer.
"Having looked at the fixture list for the upcoming summer it became apparent that my opportunities to play for the Thunder would be extremely limited," Clarke said.
"I think it is in the best interests of the club if I make myself unavailable for selection this season and allow the Thunder the chance to offer a contract to a younger player who would really benefit from the opportunity. I will continue to support the club and monitor the situation in future seasons regarding availability."
The struggling Thunder won only one match last season but that was an improvement on the previous year, when they had lost all eight games. They will be coached this season by Paddy Upton, who was named this week as the replacement for Chandika Hathurusingha.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale