Sport

Michael Clarke: Cricket ACT endorses former Australian skipper to captain PM's XI in Canberra

Michael Clarke's comeback to cricket could include captaining the Prime Minister's XI in Canberra for the first time.

Cricket ACT says the former Australian skipper would be the ideal candidate for the prestigious position given his tremendous record and service to the game.

Michael Clarke could be a leading contender to captain the Prime Minister's team this year.
Michael Clarke could be a leading contender to captain the Prime Minister's team this year. Photo: Pete Norton

Clarke announced in a News Limited report on Sunday that he will likely play in a club match between Western Suburbs and Randwick-Petersham on February 20.

The 34-year-old will then consider if he is ready to train during the winter in preparation for a possible return to first-class cricket with NSW and a stint in the Big Bash League.

If all goes to plan in Clarke's return, the PM's XI would fit nicely into his schedule to fine-tune his game before the BBL.

Clarke could of course still be considered for the PM's XI game even if he decides he doesn't want to come out of retirement.

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The PM's XI game is likely to be held at the start of the summer for the second straight season sometime in late October or early November.

If that is the case, the match would be against South Africa as they prepare for the start of their three-Test series against Australia.

Cricket ACT chief executive Cameron French said Clarke would be a natural choice for the PM's XI role.

"Someone of his calibre would be ideal to captain the PM's XI side and we would love to have him do it," French said.

"(Cricket Australia) normally use the PM's XI captaincy to recognise someone who has made a huge contribution to the game and Michael obviously has.

"I think it'd be fantastic for the public of Canberra to come down and see him play."

Clarke enjoyed a tremendous international career across both the Test and One-Day International formats.

In 115 Tests, Clarke scored 8643 runs at an average of 49.10 with 28 centuries.

His ODI record was just as superb with 7981 runs at 44.58 with eight centuries in 245 appearances.

He retired from limited overs cricket after guiding Australia to victory at last year's World Cup.

Cricket Australia is responsible for the selection of the PM's XI team, including the captain.

The PM's XI game was moved from its traditional place in January to earlier in the summer to avoid a clash with the BBL.

That resulted in a much stronger team, Mike Hussey captaining a side featuring several contenders for spots in the Australian Test side, for the match against New Zealand in October last year.

The next international fixture in Canberra is a women's ODI between Australia and India on Tuesday under lights at Manuka Oval.

India caused a boilover in winning the international Twenty20 series against a star-studded Southern Stars team.

"Since the girls have gone professional in the Women's Big Bash League, the improvement has been astronomical," French said.

"People are starting to realise how good they are now that the WBBL games have been shown on TV."

Entry to the match is free.