Sunday, March 14, 2010


Michael Clarke - From Vice Captain To Australia's Second Most Powerful Man

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I've done my best to resist the temptation to write about this, but I can hold out no more. With all the hypocritical, holier-than-thou and utterly irrelevant commentary doing the rounds of Australia's tabloids and broadsheets on this issue, everyone is missing the point that Michael Clarke's split with Lara Bingle is his version of Ricky Ponting's final pub brawl black eye moment. Clarke has confirmed his position as Australia's second most powerful man in-waiting after jettisoning the tawdry and dubious ways of Lara Bingle from the empire that is Brand Michael Clarke.

Peter Roebuck seems to cop more than his fair share of abuse ever since he wrote this highly accurate and pertinent, but now infamous, piece. Maybe it's because he isn't really Australian. Maybe it's because in his book a spade isn't a multi-purpose gardening implement, but just a simple, humble and honest spade.

Whatever the reason, Roebuck's thoroughly valid contention that an elite operator requires a highly understanding and supportive partner to reach and remain at the heights of their chosen profession, and not an attention seeking prima donna, has been lost amidst all the nitpicking about "restaurateurs" and "fashionistas". After all, did Hillary not take a back seat to President Bill? Did Victoria not look after the kids (admittedly with plenty of hired help) and leave her man to bend it like only he can for hours on end? When was the last time you heard Anjali Tendulkar's name in the press? How many people have heard of Sir Denis Thatcher or Brian Lynch?

It may come as a shock to the liberal and politically correct activists commentators of our day, but to be understanding and behind-the-scenes should not be confused with oppressed and subservient. The sooner we accept that relationships with two simultaneously high profile personalities seldom work personally or professionally, the sooner will we see this event for what it really is: a confirmation that Clarke has well and truly pulverised the proverbial fork in his way and has made a beeline for the throne that the establishment believes is his.

Ricky Ponting righted the course of his ship by admitting to alcoholism. Michael Clarke has followed in Ponting's footsteps by recognising that "beauty and danger have always been a potent combination" and ridding his life of both, at least for the present. In Michael Jackson's words, Clarke has clearly realised that "the girl is so dangerous".

More searching and tougher introspections and personal examinations from those on opposing teams will undoubtedly test his mental fortitude in the coming days and months. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to deduce that Clarke has probably dished out more than his fair share during his international career thus, now it's time to ensure that he does not partake in any ugly scenes unbecoming of his stature in the community and our game.

Whether Clarke is a better option than Cameron White as Ponting's successor is quite another debate, and one that will linger for a lot longer than any questions about the supposed morality or hard partying ways of an over-hyped, over-rated and out of work bikini model.

Can we get back to the cricket now, please?


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