Cricket World Player Of The Week - Michael Clarke
With the last three Cricket World Player of the Week awards going to bowlers, it was only going to be a matter of time before the batsmen fought back, and they certainly did so last week.
Michael Clarke, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers (160 not out), Mike Hussey (150 not out), Ricky Ponting (134), Thilan Samaraweera (115 not out) and Alviro Petersen (109) all reached three figures, with the first couple on that list going considerably beyond the hundred mark and recording a triple and double-hundred respectively.£
Kallis' and his innings was remarkable for the uncharacteristic aggression that he showed early in his innings - indeed, his strike rate on day one was actually greater than that on day two. He also completed centuries against all of the other nine Test-playing nations - beside South Africa - in the process and rounded it all off with three wickets in the Sri Lankan second innings.
However, it is Michael Clarke who takes the award this week. His innings of 329 not out was spread over three days and was the first instance of an Australian to score a triple century in a Test match since Matthew Hayden's record-breaking effort against Zimbabwe in October 2003.
He ended day one unbeaten on 47 after his bowlers had combined to dismiss India for just 191, but it was on the second day that he came into his own, as he plundered 204 runs to take his end of day score to 251 and overhaul his previous best score in the process. He was still not finished, however, and went on to reach 329 before selflessly declaring his side's innings closed on 659 for four, and, in doing so, denying himself the opportunity of challenging Brian Lara's world record of 400 in the interests of the team.
Clarke has, rather bizarrely to the outside world, always been treated with some disdain by sections of the Australian media prior to this innings, with many questioning his lifestyle and fallibility under pressure. However, they were soon singing his praises in the local papers in the days following that epic innings, with the Australian saying that Clarke "can claim the innings of the 21st century," and Malcolm Knox writing in the Sydney Morning Herald about the match being called ‘'he Michael Clarke Test'.
As for the man himself, who has always professed a certain bewilderment as to his treatment, he can only hope this positivity will continue.
© Cricket World 2012