Captain’s Call Beats Captain’s Knock

Not just for cricket fans but for those who search for Australian character and identity, Michael Clarke’s Adelaide innings has provided a defining moment.

In unique circumstances, Clarke provided the most blunt and telling example of what this nation craves most in its leaders, ticker and mateship.

I stopped in at a hotel on the way home to catch the last 30 mins of the first day’s action on the TV. Perhaps i should have stuck with the compelling and bright ABC radio in the truck.

Sat on my pat, glued to the action with updates on Clarkes injury and replays of events that lead to his demise. Then, with schooner in hand a stranger sidles up alongside to impart his version of wisdom on the Clarke story. Alas, the glass vessel nor his compromised lips were able to contain the dribble or drivel. “Selfish bastard, if ya ‘aint fit ya don’t play.” Then “Geesuss Clarke get up, ya weak as (wee)”.

In no mood to engage I left, back to Jim Maxwell and mates.

I fumed then quickly realised my umbrage was matched by a comparable level of affection for Clarke. It was, in fact, that someone had abused my mate.

The dribbler is partly excused because his imbibed state caused a lack of lucidity, however my appreciation of Clarke was unimpeded and evident to mind. Clarke’s recent behaviour has etched itself deeply into the consciousness of what we aspire to, and deeply admire.

On the first charge; Selfish…not fit..don’t play. Not Guilty. Yes,we all want to play to fulfil our own ambition regardless, but his on-field tactics in pursuit of victory, be it in regard to declarations or setting run targets, show he has no regard for preserving personal records. Clarke wants his team to win, that’s not selfish.

As to playing with injury, he was passed fit to play – physically anyway – by all the medicos in relation to his hamstring strain. The back complaint, although with a history, was not evident – nor an impediment when tested for fitness. The pinch, strain and wrench which occurred when on 60 was not expected by him nor the medical staff. He was fit to play prior to the toss.

Second charge; Weak as… Not Guilty. In fact, the opposite. We do care about his first innings score, a recently completed dig of 128, but his strength of leadership was not so much in the tally of numbers but in his defiant flag bearing of his and our most cherished position – that of Australia’s cricket Captain.

Much as been said and written about how uniquely difficult a situation this band of young men have endured, and will hopefully rise above. No one, it was publicly stated, would be cast down for not being prepared to play in Adelaide.

Now it was Clarke’s time.

As he had had down so stoically in eulogising his great mate in Macksville, Clarke now gripped the Australian cricket flag, thrust it powerfully above for his team to follow. “We will play on” he said. He declared, undemonstratively, that he would play in Adelaide and his teammates fell into line in full support of their captain. It showed in our first innings – on the board and in our resolve and gait. That’s not weak.

A Captain leads by deed. A leader draws committment from his men when those men see integrity in their Captain. It was a no crap moment.

Clarke has a team, it’s our national team. He now commands our respect as a fine Australian and our captain.


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About Andrew Buchanan

Devotee to Australian culture,history and identity. Expert in non-colonic irrigation. Father,Rugby coach,part time bush poet .Expelled member of the friends of Stalin show your bottom Society. Advocate for Australian rules and cricket as our national codes with a deep abiding love of League and Rugby.


  1. Whilst I think the long term impacts of Clarke playing are yet to be realised and the cost could be severe, I think him being out there showed a truimph of emotion over good sense, for all the best reasons. His courage cannot now ever be doubted, after this knock and his SA century earlier in the year.

    I still feel strange towards him, for reasons I cannot fathom I must admit. But, despite on ongoing a crook back, his record of missing tests is admirable, espcially compared to Watto. He has shown mettle and grit, in the fine tradition of Waugh and Border, and that’s something many of us wouldn’t have imagined writing a few years back.

    All credit to him, he stood up (literally) when it counted and should be applauded for it

    Welcome aboard too Maleny/Andrew


  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Andrew Clarke is interesting in that I think we have always regarded his batting and tactical nous extremely highly , it was his communication ability and relationship with players and yes with , Bingle bells that was more than questionable which I did in my leadership article ( love you to have a read ) . Over the last 2 weeks he has provided the greatest leadership in aust sporting history , IMO . This test match he just had to play it is unique and about the whole cricketing family , he has been amazing , welcome aboard , Andrew

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