From Pup to Top Dog
Having announced himself with a precocious Test debut century in 2004 and as the final surviving link to Australia’s dominant era of the late 20th and early 21st Centuries, Michael Clarke has matured into his nation’s most reliable cricket talent.
The fact that his unbeaten 329 sparked a run of four 200-plus Test innings in 2012 underscores his world-class as a batsman, and as a captain he has shown a capacity for flair and intuition albeit with a team that remains in a rebuilding phase and has not delivered the results he was once accustomed to.
The ongoing concern for Clarke is a chronic back injury that is more a legacy of a youthful preoccupation with becoming a fast bowler than the burden of carrying his team’s batting aspirations.
As he likes to point out, the condition has only cost him one Test in almost a decade, so he clearly knows how to manage the problem. Which is good news for his country, which at least for the foreseeable future might well struggle to manage meaningful totals without him.