Australian cricket great Michael Clarke was on hand last Wednesday at the Dymocks city store to sign copies of his newly published autobiography MY STORY.
Clarke was the greatest batsman of his generation and, as captain, possessed the sharpest tactical mind in the game.
Bursting onto the scene in 2004 with a Test century on debut, Michael Clarke was Australian cricket’s golden boy. And the batting prodigy they nicknamed ‘Pup’ certainly fulfilled his destiny in a stellar 11-year international career of 115 Tests, 8643 runs and 28 centuries.
Clarke’s rollercoaster four-year reign as Test captain was marked as much by bravery as brilliance – a 5-0 whitewash of England in 2013-14, the 2015 World Cup triumph, and a ten-hour unbeaten 161, batting with a broken shoulder to lead Australia back to the #1 world ranking in 2014.
Yet Michael Clarke also sparked fiercer debate than any other Australian sports star.
For a decade his personal life, career fortunes and controversies – real or imagined – were splashed across front pages and scrutinised. Was he simply a hard-working, western suburbs kid living every Aussie boy’s dream? Or a 21st century cricketer mired in all the trappings of celebrity?
In the echo chamber of social media, the truth about Michael Clarke was warped, then lost. Clarke’s enigma deepened but he kept his mouth shut and his dignity intact, knowing the chance to tell his extraordinary story would finally come. And now it has.
My Story is the real Michael Clarke, standing up and speaking out for the first time.
Bucking the conventions of traditional biography to go hard at the big issues, Clarke speaks fearlessly and poignantly about the scandals, rumours and explosive moments of his life; revealing the amazing truths, private pain and personal triumphs that no one realised.
It’s the incredible story of a remarkable Australian you never really knew. Until now.
Michael Clarke was born in Liverpool, in Sydney’s south in 1981. He made his Test debut in 2004 v India, scoring 151. Clarke became Australia’s 43rd Test cricket captain in 2011 while also leading Australia’s one-day side. In 115 Tests he scored 8643 runs, averaging 49.10.
Clarke is a four-time winner of the Allan Border Medal and was twice named Wisden Cricketer of the Year. After 245 ODI games and almost 8000 runs his final ODI innings of 74 won Australia the 2015 World Cup. Clarke retired from Test cricket in 2015 with a win-loss-draw record of 24-16-7 as captain. He lives in Sydney with wife Kyly and daughter Kelsey Lee.
Michael Clarke MY LIFE, published by Macmillan Australian, is retailing at $44.99.
All images by Ben Apfelbaum (c).