Irrespective of how many runs Pup goes on to plunder today, the second day of the second test in Adelaide, his innings has surely put Australia in another unlosable position. Performing similar heroics to those of his game saving double ton at the Gabba, Clarke has mastered the captains knock – coming in when the chips are down and leading the team out of trouble. It’s a long way from the flamboyant slasher who could belt some big scores when the runs were on the board but packed it in as soon as there was some pressure applied.
According to the scoreboard, it was Clarkie’s 151 in South Africa, his second ton as captain, that signaled the arrival of the newly galvanized leader. On a dicey pitch against an in-form Dale Steyn led pace battery, Clarke managed to score more than half the Aussie’s runs after a top order collapse and then better the combined South African and Australian 2nd and 3rd innings totals. He’d scored bigger totals but none better. But the basics of biology can attest, you don’t grow a pair overnight. The seeds of Pup’s renaissance were sown two summers prior, with his infamous dressing room clash with Simon Katich.
For want of a better expression, having a teammate’s hands around your throat – and watching that awkward pause as fellow players decide whether they really want to pry the maniac off you – is a true shit or get of the pot moment. With a match winning 138 and 41, Clarke should have been the man of the moment but instead he had someone from his own team wanting to rip out his larynx. Surely Pup must have questioned, “Am I really that guy.”
Sure, Katich may have over-reacted but the fact that Clarke was trying to hurry up the team celebrations so he could have dinner with his girlfriend was just another indication that Pup’s priorities were out of whack. And it wasn’t just his teammates calling for blood. Clark may have been well aware that he needed to repair a few bridges within the team but it must have been a shocking slap to the face walking out to boos on his home ground in the 2010/2011 Ashes in Sydney. But Clarkie had stared down the lion that was Simon Katich. He was already on the road to redemption, we just didn’t know it yet.
Pre-paint graph via Howstat
So we should give thanks to Kat, forever the team player. A rock at the top of the order, the sacrificial ‘silly-mid’ lamb, and bloke’s bloke who had the gumption to knock the pretty boy upstart down a peg or two. Of coarse we’d tweet the man our thanks but Katich doesn’t have a twitter. Presumable because its for soft-cock [insert offensive insult here]! We all need a neck ringing from time to to, if only we were all lucky enough to have Simon Katich on hand to do the honors.
Clarke’s gloves. Katich: “Back in my day we only had one pair of gloves. And we’d be lucky if they had all their fingers!
Clarkie on the other hand does have Twitter. And much like the way he carries himself as the captain of the Australian Test team, Pup is always humble and quick to shift the focus from his own achievements
And to that point we tip our hat to our classy captain. It may have only taken a near death experience, but he’s emerged as one of a finest batsmen, captains, and ambassadors of the game. When you consider the ilk of his predecessors, that’s pretty impressive.
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