Sydney - Former Australian captain Michael Clarke on Wednesday pulled out of
his Big Bash League deal with the Melbourne Stars and said he will take an
indefinite break from the game.
The 34-year-old, one of the outstanding batsmen of his generation, retired
from international cricket last month after the fifth and final Ashes Test at
Clarke was expected to honour a two-year contract signed in April with the
Stars in Australia's domestic Twenty20 league, but he said he needed time away
"Right now for me, I just think my body and my mind need some time away
from the game of cricket... and just see what that's like to be without
it," he told Triple M radio.
Clarke, who has long battled back problems, said quitting international
duties had prompted him to consider his wider playing future, as his pregnant
wife Kyly prepares to give birth to the couple's first baby in January.
"It's been a big part of my life and I just think that with my retirement
from international cricket now I just need to take myself away from the game of
cricket for a little while and just see what that's like. To actually be
without it," he said.
"You push yourself to the max when you're playing sport at the highest
level and now I've pressed stop on that part, in regards to international
cricket, I just think my body... and my mind just needs that break."
As well as his injury issues, Clarke also cited the continuing psychological
impact of close friend and team-mate Phillip Hughes' death as a factor in his
"I guess that's part of it as well. How big a part? Right now I'm
unsure," he said.
"I just need this time to allow myself to go through whatever I need to
go through to be able to move forward."
Hughes died last year after being hit on the head by a bouncer at the Sydney
Cricket Ground, with a shattered Clarke giving a moving eulogy at his funeral.
But Clarke did not rule out returning to the crease at some point, leaving
open the possibility of playing the second year of his contract with the Stars.
"I'm really hopeful that love and passion that I've always had for the
game will come back," said the batsman, who scored 8,643 runs in 115
"I've got a two-year deal at the moment, so hopefully it all turns out
ok and I come back and play next year.
"But even if they decide they don't want me to play, I'm hopeful I'll
be able to help the club have success in another way."