Michael Clarke takes on rally

Michael Clarke goes for broke yesterday at the International Rally of Queensland.
Michael Clarke goes for broke yesterday at the International Rally of Queensland. JEREMY ROGERS PHOTOGRAPHY

AS A  rally car driver, Michael Clarke makes a good cricketer.

In what would be a major relief for Australian cricket officials, the Test and one-day captain survived his debut dirt-racing stint at the International Rally of Queensland on the Sunshine Coast yesterday.

Driving a rally prepared Mitsubishi Lancer Evo for his personal sponsor BP, Clarke was not timed in what was deemed an unofficial stage one run.

With the publicity stunt now over, he can concentrate on the job at hand - beating the Poms.

Australia's one-day squad leaves for the UK next month for a three-week tour that includes five 50-over matches against England.

Australia has 15 days of training before flying out.

It has been a hectic period in Clarke's life.

He married Kyly Boldy in a super-secret wedding at a Blue Mountains resort on May 16.

The 31-year-old then returned to India to resume his six-game stint with Indian Premier League side Pune Warriors, and only arrived home last Thursday.

He was reportedly paid more than $1 million for his inaugural IPL season.

Clarke thoroughly enjoyed his time in India.

"I loved it. I had a great time," he said.

"It's certainly is an eye-opener. It's hard to describe the IPL until you actually go there.

"The atmosphere and, I guess, how much the Indians love that format of the game.

"I think it's supported really well.

"I really enjoyed it."

Clarke lamented not having the time to take his wife on a honeymoon, at least for the immediate future.

"That's the way it is, I guess," he said.

"Unfortunately there's not much time between the end of the IPL and our next series.

"So I'm going to make sure I'm focused on that."

Clarke revealed last week that he would not bat into his late 30s like Indian great Sachin Tendulkar and the man he replaced as Australian captain, Ricky Ponting.

But before he hangs up the bat, he is determined to see Australia regain its mantle as Test cricket's No.1 nation.

The 83-Test veteran believes Australia can do that as early as next year if it beats South Africa at home next summer and then regains the Ashes in England next winter.

On his stint in a rally car, the self-confessed revhead said he took it nice and easy.

"I've had a great time. It's been very enjoyable," he said.

"It's a new experience, that's for sure."

Topics:  cricket michael clarke motor racing rally

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