Clarke skipped IPL due to father’s illness

February 23rd, 2008 - 11:04 pm ICT by admin  

Sydney, Feb 23 (IANS) His father’s terminal illness forced Australian Michael Clarke to opt out of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the cricketer disclosed here Saturday. Clarke, who captained Australia’s Twenty20 team, would have fetched millions of dollars at the players’ auction held in Mumbai Wednesday, but he preferred to be with his ailing father, Les, who is battling cancer for almost a year.

“When IPL was first mentioned, dad and I talked about it. I told him what it was - the money they were offering and things like that,” Clarke was quoted as saying in Sydney Morning Herald.

“But Lara (his girl friend), mum (Debbie), dad, my sister (Leanne) and I had dinner on Monday night and I told them then that I wasn’t going to go. They asked why, but they were very supportive of my decision. Dad just said that money’s not a worry and at this stage of my career it’s worth enjoying time at home.”

The lucrative 44-day IPL tournament, based on Twenty20 matches, will be played in India from April 18. Some of the eight franchise owners bought players for over a million dollars at the historic auction.

Australians Andrew Symonds (sold for $1.35 million), retiring wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist, captain Ricky Ponting, retired Glenn McGrath, Michael Hussey, Matthew Hayden and some others will be playing in the IPL either this year or from the next edition.

But Clarke would be with his father during the IPL tournament.

“It (cancer) brings you back to reality. Cricket is a big part of my life but I know now that things can change quickly. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do. Cancer doesn’t discriminate,” said the 26-year-old of his father’s situation.

“Things like that can just happen. It makes me want to enjoy every day of my life. It has made me want to appreciate my whole family much more.”

Clarke will be fishing with Les, who recently started a charter-boat business, About You Fishing Charters, and spending time with Lara.

“He’s just finished chemo and radiation treatment and the results have been pretty good. So I’m looking forward to spending as much time as possible with him. He’s bought a fishing charter and he’s been wanting me to get out there with him. I also wanted to spend time with my mum and sister,” he said.

“Lara’s father also has cancer, so we want to be there with him, too.”

Clarke said he was first told about Les’s illness during last year’s World Cup in the West Indies, when his sister rang him up.

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