The 2015 Cricket World Cup truly saw some great, memorable and some magical moments. Some players went on to make or break records, whereas some bid adieu to the gentleman’s game. One of them was Australia’s Captain Michael Clarke. Not only did he win our hearts with his captaincy and commitment, but also by giving tribute to his longtime friend Phillip Hughes, who had passed away last November.
He had made his debut against England in 2003 but he had burst onto the cricketing scene a year later when he took 6/9 in an innings against India in Mumbai, establishing himself as one of the premier future greats of Australian Cricket. Once he kept going, there was no stopping the rise of Clarke. Along with his spells with the ball, he began mastering what he will be known for ever, ie, his Batting.
Years later, he came one step closer to his dream, the Australian Captaincy. He was promoted to the role under Ricky Ponting after another Aussie great Adam Gilchrist had hung up his boots. He was already serving the leader role for the T20 side. He was applauded for his confidence and his approach to the game by many of the its greats. Years passed again and he became greater at it. After Australia’s exit at the 2011 Cricket World Cup by the hands of India, Ponting passed on the baton to him, reaching him to his destiny and starting the journey of one of Australia’s greatest captains.
Not only did the Captaincy change him as a person, but also polished his batting, breaking several records in tests, one for his 329 against India, there was no way Clarke was looking back. He was on a dream run and continued and continued till date. Though all it came to a halt when he was injured against Sri Lanka in an ODI in 2012. His niggles continued and persisted to what was his concerns for retiring from the limited formats of the game 3 years later. He then became an in an out feature for his national team in One Dayers. But continued to break records in Tests.
Then approached the death of his long friend, his ‘brother’ Phillip Hughes. He was struck by a bouncer by New South Wales bowler Sean Abbott in a first class game, which tore his vertebral artery in his neck and never regained consciousness. That changed Clarke as a person. A death of his closest of all buddies had a profound impact on him, but also put him in the spirits of batting. He often scored big, dedicated all his knocks to his late friend. Till the World Cup final, when Clarke showed all his capabilites in the all important final, where he smashed 75 against New Zealand, playing an instrumental role in leading his side to a record 5th World Cup triumph. Also dedicating this victory to his buddy.That was a favourable gesture by him.
It will be saddening to see him never wearing the Australian Yellow shirt again, but he defines an era of greatness, paving the way for future stars like Steven Smith, David Warner, Glenn Maxwell and more. He would be the only lucky lad to have played with the old Australian greats (Ponting, Hayden, McGrath, Lee) and the new future stars(Smith, Warner, Finch, Maxwell). Wishing him all the best in his retirement. But to define him, there can be only one quote, “GREATNESS IS CONTAGIOUS!“