So Michael Clarke, Australia’s vice-captain, has bailed on the tour to New Zealand, returning home to comfort his attention-seeking fiancee Lara Bingle following the publication of nude photos of her in the shower.
The photos were taken by AFL bad boy Brendan Fevola, during the pair’s affair back in 2006. That saga has been all over the headlines in Australia for the past week or so, but what to make of Clarke’s decision?
Certainly, anyone with doubts about his suitability to take over as skipper from Ricky Ponting will be all over this, and not without cause.
Presumably, Clarke will only miss the final three ODIs and be back in time for the First Test, beginning in Wellington on March 19, but this mercy dash to Bingle will only confirm in the minds of some people that Clarke simply isn’t made of the right stuff.
A big part of that is tied up in a lack of public sympathy for Bingle.
Sure, Fevola is a cad for taking the photo without her consent and then circulating it, but Bingle’s reaction – suing Fevola, but doing a deal with the magazine that actually published the photos – merely reinforces the perception that her outrage is convenient and publicity her real priority.
And now, her famous beau has to drop everything and jet back to hold her hand making her look like a princess, and making Clarke, in the parlance of our times, look pussy-whipped.
They should suck it up and let him do the job that gives him, and her, a profile; the job that allows them to drive flash cars and lives in the lap of luxury.
If Clarke wasn’t a cricketer, and she wasn’t his missus, no-one would care about Lara Bingle at all.
Playing cricket for Australia is a privilege and for Clarke to put it all on hold for his girlfriend is not a good look at all.
Instead, he should demonstrate the kind of commitment that is required of Australian cricket captains, an illustrious group he is apparently destined to join.
Can anyone imagine Allan Border or Steve Waugh pulling a stunt like this?
Words: Tom Sturrock
Has Michael Clarke done the right thing or should he stand strong? Comment below.