Melbourne: Australian batsman Michael Clarke turned down the chance to play in the Indian Premier League so he could focus on his career with Australia and his family, a newspaper reported on 20 February 2008.
The gifted right-hander, who had led Australia in Twenty20 matches and is seen as the logical replacement for Ricky Ponting as captain, was a notable omission when the list of those who signed with the IPL was released a day earlier.
Although seven other members of the Australian squad currently playing in the tri-series against India and Sri Lanka made themselves available for the IPL, Clarke told the Melbourne Age it wasn’t the right time for him.
“Right now, the time is not right for me, from a family or cricket perspective,” Clarke was quoted as saying. “I am 26 years of age and I want to give myself every chance of having a long career for Australia.
“Right now I want to finish the (one-day) series well, win the Pura Cup with New South Wales and take my old man fishing.”
Clarke’s father, Les, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease during last year’s World Cup.
Australian pace duo Mitchell Johnson and Stuart Clark also passed on the chance to sign with the IPL, along with wicketkeeper-batsman Brad Haddin.
13 Australians have signed up with the IPL , including Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and retired stars Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne.
The availability of the current Australian players for the inaugural tournament remains in doubt, with the competition conflicting with the scheduled tours of Pakistan and the West Indies.