Michael Clarke is the last remaining member of Australia’s formidable Test side of the mid 2000’s. Since assuming the captaincy from his mentor, Ricky Ponting, Clarke has transformed into one of the premier players of the modern era.
His time as captain has been tough, with Australia going through a rebuilding phase. It started brilliantly, with a 4-0 series win over India, however, the tables were quickly turned when Australia lost by the same margin on the return tour in early 2013.
It was against India that Clarke started his Test career, and it would be a series to savour for the then 23 year old. The right-handed batsman scored a fluent 151 on debut, and then claimed a stunning 6/9 later on in the tour.
In his first home Test, Clarke once again delighted crowds with a stylish century in Brisbane, which he brought up with a boundary in the final over before lunch.
The New South Welshman took over the captaincy in 2011 following the disappointing Ashes defeat at home. Not foreign to the role, Clarke had already had experience as captain of the ODI and T20 sides.
He has led his country to series victories against India, the West Indies and Sri Lanka, showcasing his leadership credentials along the way.
The series win against India was a breakout period for Clarke, who hit a clinical 329* at the SCG, and then backed it up with 210 at the Adelaide Oval.
Back to back double-centuries against South Africa confirmed his status as the best batsman in the world, making him the only player in history to hit four double-tons in the same year.
Clarke has had a terrific career in the ODI arena as well, where he averages 44.69 and his ability to work the balls into gaps has been a major asset.
Without doubt, Clarke has become the number one batsman in the side and is now widely regarded as the key wicket in the Australian line-up.