So where are all you Michael Clarke haters now?
Righto then. Let’s hear it from all you Michael Clarke haters out there.
Go on, give it your best shot. Let’s hear it from you cricket geniuses who said a bloke who exfoliates could never be relied upon to make runs in a tight scrape.
Let’s hear it from you big, tough know-it-alls who said a namby-pamby bloke called “Pup” wasn’t fit to carry the kit bags of blokes with rugged nicknames like Punter, Tugga and Tubby, let alone carry their proud captaincy legacy.
Come on. Speak up. Tell us that Michael Clarke’s 259 not out this week was yet another aberration, a hiccup in a universe where boofy men thrive while vain, sensitive men are doomed to vapid, meaningless lives in hair salons and journalism.
Sorry, can’t hear you. Wonder why not? At a wild guess, maybe it’s because Clarke played yet another textbook captain’s knock this week, digging Australia out of a hole so deep they found Brant Webb and Todd Russell at the bottom of it.
Again this week, as he did the whole of last summer against India when he made a triple and double century, Clarke played with both style and with grit. Those same two characteristics which you haters keep telling us are oil and water.
The weird thing about the Michael Clarke haters is that so many of you are young. The crusty old brigade schooled on the Chappells are incurable. They’ll never warm to him. But Clarke also has countless critics among Gen Y.
A generation which believes it’s perfectly normal to drink cider instead of beer at the pub thinks its national cricket captain isn’t manly enough. Get a PhD in pure maths and you still couldn’t figure that one out.
Look, there’s no point pretending that Clarke doesn’t occasionally challenge even his greatest admirers with moments of narcissism. His recent Louis Vuitton episode was a bit of a cringe.
And there was that wedding horse.
But the bloke now averages 50 with the bat and has turned a Test team in flux into a competitive outfit. That’s all that matters.
Clarke recognised his image problems back in early 2010 when he broke up with Lara Bingle. When the fallout from the nude shower shots became untenable, he hopped a plane from NZ to Australia, dumped Bingle, flew back, made a ton, end of argument.
He then sold the Bondi pad, downgraded to a sensible vehicle and the rest is still rapidly unfolding history.
Clarke was modest in accepting his Man of the Match award last night, giving much credit to his team-mates. Truth is, they should give him credit. Guys like Ed Cowan are now growing under Clarke’s wing, just as so many players found confidence under Steve Waugh.
Michael Clarke is not just the best batsman in the world these days, he has become a mentor. Thanks to him, his team lives to fight for the number one world Test ranking in the second Test in Adelaide.
Also, he is not Ricky Ponting. Stick that in your Louis Vuitton pipe and smoke it.
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