Michael Clarke, the former Australian No.4 and World winning captain, was one of the members of the Invincible Australian team of 2000’s era. In the 12 players of illustrious career, Clarke played with arguably the best generation of cricketers.
Michael Clarke debuted for Australia back in 2003 and in no time, he became one of the important cog a batting line up that boasted of the likes of Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Andrew Symonds. In the 12-year career, the Australian mustered over 16000 international runs with the help of 36 tons and 86 half-centuries across all the formats. Clarke also guided Australia to a World Cup win in 2015 when Australia won the prestigious trophy on their turf.
In an interview with Big Sports Breakfast, Michael Clarke picked seven best batsmen he played with or against them in the 12 years of his international career.
1. BRIAN LARA
In first of his picks, Michael Clarke picked the Marathon man Brain Lara. “Probably my favourite batsman through my career,” Clarke said. “You look at statistics and his average is probably not as high as others names on this list but it was the way he played, whether that it was against fast bowlers or spinners. It was the success he had against Australia.
That’s the other thing about these batsmen I’ve picked is that they all dominated Australia. You think of an attack with McGrath, Gillespie, Brett Lee, Shane Warne — these guys bowling to these batsmen — and they all found a way to have success,” added Clarke.
2. SACHIN TENDULKAR
Next comes Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar, in the list of Michael Clarke. Talking about Sachin Tendulkar, Clarke said, “Probably technically the best batsman I ever saw. The hardest batsman to get out. I think Sachin, technically, didn’t have a weakness. Part of you hoped that he made a mistake.”
3. VIRAT KOHLI
Modern Indian great and successor of Sachin, Virat Kohli comes next in the list. Lauding Virat Kohli, Clarke said, “I think right now the best batsman across all three formats. His one day and T20 records are phenomenal and he’s also found a way to dominate Test cricket. What Kohli and Tendulkar have in common is they love making big hundreds.”
4. AB De VILLIERS
How can one miss AB de Villiers? “I’m hoping he comes back and plays for South Africa again. Superstar. Can bat anywhere in the order. Dominates T20 cricket. He can score runs anywhere around the ground,” said Clarke about the South African stalwart.
5. JACQUES KALLIS
One of the finest all-rounders of his time and a complete batsman, Jacques Kallis makes the list for his great international record. “The greatest all-rounder that I played against. The impact he had against Australia, the way he was able score runs against our attack was extraordinary,” Clarke said of Kallis.
6. RICKY PONTING
The predecessor of Clarke and World Champion of three times, Ricky Ponting comes next. “He’s probably the best Australian batsman I played with,” said Clarke. “I was lucky enough to play with some great batsman — Matthew Hayden, Steve Smith, David Warner, Adam Gilchrist, Damien Martyn who was a genius. What separates Ricky is the era that he played. Just about every attack had two or three top-line, world-class bowlers and he was able to dominate them,” he added.
7. KUMAR SANGAKKARA
Most underrated but one of the most stubborn batsman with a huge numbers behind his back, Sangakkara completes the list of Clarke’s picks. “He seems to be forgotten regularly. Phenomenal. Batted at number three which I think is the toughest position. I think he scored three hundred in a row in a world cup. Sangakkara was a force and an absolute gentleman of the game,” said Clarke.