Cricketer Michael Clarke captained the Australian cricket team from 2008 to 2015. He became the 12th Australian to score a century in his Test debut, was awarded the prestigious Allan Border Medal and in 2013 was named the International Cricket Council’s Cricketer of the Year. Clarke, 34, chatted to me about the challenges of being an Australian cricket captain, what he has next in the pipeline and the best advice he ever received from West Indies great Brian Lara.
Now that you are retired, what is a day in the life of you?
As we speak I am commentating full time so my day-to-day schedule is pretty full on. I get up at 5.30am and go do a session in the gym for an hour, I then Facetime my daughter, have breakfast, then off to the ground to commentate. I wrap up commentating around 6pm, then head out to dinner with the boys.
Did you grow up wanting to be the Australian cricket captain?
Not at all. My dream as a six-year-old boy was to play cricket for Australia, but I never dreamt of captaining our country. In saying that, it was an absolute honour and privilege to be the 43rd Australian Test captain.
What did you find most challenging about being captain?
I think spending time away from your family is always hard, with the way tours are set up now you travel for 10 months of the year. And I think as any leader does in sport or business, when your team doesn’t perform, you take it extremely personal.
Do you have any regrets?
None whatsoever. I have learnt a lot of life lessons along my journey so far but I’m very happy with what I have been lucky enough to achieve.
What has been the most important life lesson you have learnt so far?
Try to enjoy every day, because life can be so short. Stop and smell the roses along the way.
What is the best advice you have ever been given, and who was it from?
Brian Lara gave me this saying on a piece of paper that I carried around in my baggy green satchel until the day I retired: before you begin a thing, remind yourself that difficulties and delays quite impossible to foresee are ahead …You can only see one thing clearly, and that is your goal! Form a mental vision of that and cling to it through thick and thin.
What inspired you to write your autobiography, Michael Clarke: My Story?
I wrote my book for my daughter Kelsey Lee. If anything ever happened to me, I wanted her to know who her father was, what I stood for and what my values were. I wanted her to hear about my life from me and not what she might have heard or read in a paper/magazine.
How long did it take to write?
Six months. It was a lot of fun and nice to finally be able to be completely open and honest.
What has been the public reaction to the book?
I think that most people that have read it have been very positive about how honest, self-reflective and self-critical I have been.
The book is very honest about some very public events. Was that easy to do?
Yes it was, it was nice to be able to sit down and reflect on my life. The past 35 years have been an amazing ride. Plenty of highs and a few lows.
If you didn’t go down the career of a sportsman, what would you be doing?
I would hate to know. That’s why I will always be so grateful to the game of cricket. It has given me everything.
Tell me about your involvement with Hublot.
I have been an ambassador for Hublot for two years now and it’s an association that I am very proud of. Their words that they live by resonate a lot with me and how I have tried to live my life. Be different, unique and willing to do things first.
What do you enjoy most about fashion?
Fashion allows you to show your own individual style. I believe people should be very proud of who they are and fashion allows them to show that.
What charities are you involved with and why?
I have a great range of charities that I am an ambassador for, all of which are very close to my heart: Life Education, McGrath Foundation, Cancer Council and The Loyal Foundation.
How are you enjoying being on the Channel 9 commentary team?
I have loved it. It is nice to be back in a team environment and talking about the game we love. The guys are fantastic and always good for a laugh.
Is it hard sitting on the other side of the fence?
Not at all. I played for a long time and feel that I retired at the right time as I am very happy with the career that I had fulfilled. I thought I achieved everything I could and now I am able to talk about the game, and help the viewers get a closer perspective of what it’s like out there in the middle.
As a commentator you will be asked to voice your opinion – good or bad. Does this come easy?
Being honest and calling it how you see it is not hard at all. I always try to be as constructive as I can be, as I remember how hard the game was at the highest level.
What are your plans for Christmas? I assume you will be in Melbourne for the Boxing Day Test?
Yes I will be. I will have Christmas day at home with Kyly, Kelsey Lee and my family but will fly to Melbourne that night in preparation for the Boxing Day Test match.
What’s your favourite thing about being a dad to Kelsey Lee?
Seeing her every morning when she wakes up with a smile on her face and giving her a kiss good night before she goes to sleep, and I love watching her grow and learn new things. She is just such a happy, vibrant little girl. She has me wrapped around her finger already.
What is next in the pipeline for you?
I have my cricket academy in Sydney, which is doing really well, and now with more time on my hands I am able to be more involved, which is great. I am also investing a lot of time into the digital side of my business. I will also keep commentating with the Nine team, and being an ambassador for the amazing companies that I am lucky enough to be associated with keeps me nice and busy.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I would really like some more kids. Family means the world to me and for all of them to be happy and healthy and I would like my business to keep doing well. Ten years is a long time away. I will be cherishing every day.
WE WENT TO Hublot All Black 10th Anniversary dinner at Bay 21 Gallery, Carriageworks
WE ATE Charcoal Rangers Valley Beef Fillet
WE DRANK NV Duval-Leroy Brut, Vertus France and Hennessy VS Cognac
MICHAEL CLARKE Hugo Boss suit and a Hublot watch
Photography: Tim Kindler