Johannesburg, Feb.26 (ANI): Australian cricket vice-captain Michael Clark has said that he couldn't care less about critics.
"With my life outside of cricket, I've had to accept there will be things said about me that I might not always agree with or like," Clarke told the Herald before the first Test against South Africa, starting on Thursday at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.
"Most of the people who say or write those things, I've never even met them. So, I don't know how they can judge my personality. But it doesn't matter. Three years ago, it would have bugged me," he said.
"All I can say now is that I just wouldn't change a thing about my life. I love playing cricket for Australia, I love being in the relationship I'm in, and I'm just really enjoying my life," Clarke said.
Some have portrayed Clarke as the villain after his scuffle with Simon Katich following the SCG Test.
In truth, neither was the villain; neither was blameless.
But the criticism of Clarke became personal. He was too cosy with his partner at the Allan Border Medal presentation night. He was somehow secretly plotting to take the captaincy off Ricky Ponting. A portrait was painted of a selfish player who didn't understand the team mentality. A radio broadcaster criticised Clarke for driving a swish car during an economic crisis.
"If I'm praised or if I'm criticised, it's my job to try to keep going. I'm paid to play cricket for Australia, and I take that seriously. Some people are going to like me and some people aren't, I guess," he said.
The knockers went quiet when Clarke was the only Australian batsman to thwart South Africa's pace battery. He averaged 76.6 while all others fell below 50.
They remained silent when Ponting revealed it was Clarke who pushed for the Australian team to visit the survivors of the Victorian bushfires. They didn't say boo when he won his second Allan Border Medal; they stayed mum about his rise to No.3 on the world Test batting rankings.
Clarke does not fit the stereotype. He eats carefully. He doesn't like beer. These are not the crimes of the century.
"I was lucky when I first came into the team five years ago, I built a lot of friendships with the older guys who always made me feel comfortable and let me be the person I wanted to be. As vice-captain now, I'm trying to be the same with the guys coming in. If you're different, if you don't drink alcohol, if you don't want to go out, you really don't have to," Clarke said. (ANI)