If Sangakkara is the quintessential gentleman beyond the game, Michael Clarke is the bright young upstart turned elder statesman and guardian of its values.
The transformation occurred under intense public scrutiny where every move and misdemeanour was analysed and dissected.
Pup’s metamorphosis would not have been possible without the support of his partner and wife, Kyly Boldy.
Clarke’s previous choice, Lara Bingle, was an equally high profile personality.
Their three-year relationship which began in 2007 and ended in 2010 was always in the news and not for the right reasons.
It was, perhaps, no surprise that the relationship ended around the time Clarke began his ascension to the throne of Australian cricket.
The ostensible reason for the break-up was an exclusive tell-all interview that Bingle sold to a women’s magazine.
And that’s when the current Mrs. Clarke and then Kyly Boldy boldly stepped into the frame.
From ‘just friends’ to an ‘item’ within months, the former schoolmates fast forwarded to the present with Boldy proving to be an able and capable First Lady of the national obsession.
Just who is Kyly Boldy?
According to her:
“I’d hope that people would think I come across as classy and that’s just because I like to hold myself that way. I guess that’s what I like to embrace and I think that’s a really nice quality in a woman.
And I hope people see me as a fun-loving ‘girl next door’. I’m a lot more of a jokester than everyone thinks – a lot more. I’m always cracking some kind of a joke or having a laugh, and I think people will be a bit surprised to see that really down-to-earth Kyly my family get to see.”
The comparisons to Bingle were evident, at first. They are both models and media personalities in their own rights.
Boldy, however, decided to shun the limelight post her marriage to Clarke in 2012.
The wedding was low-profile.
Boldy certainly has no time or place for the WAG tag used to euphemistically describe sportsmen’s partners.
“I’m not sure who started it, but they should get a slap on the wrist. Every single wife or girlfriend I’ve met who has been a part of the cricket community has always stood on her own – they have their own jobs, they have their own careers, they all do very, very well for themselves. I wonder what the husbands could be called? I wonder if we could swap this around?”
And she certainly would not like to take any credit for her husband’s success.
“That is so funny. But, nah, I don’t take any credit for any of his success. I see Michael wake up every single day, trying to be the best cricketer he can be, to be a better captain than the day before. The dedication and the passion that he has for his job is something I’ve never seen before and something I really admire. He should get every little bit of credit.
Sure, his family life or his home life might be more suitable for him, and maybe he’s just more comfortable that he feels like he can just go to cricket and do his thing – but that’s not a question I can answer. I am just happy that he is doing so well, and I know he will continue to do well because he wants to.”
She sums up her life with Clarke in these words:
“You have to wake up every single day with your own goals and dreams in life, love, family and career. You can’t take that away from anybody and I think that’s what our family is about.”
Kyly took her job as captain Clarke’s better half seriously enough to learn the rules to the game.
“As everyone keeps reminding me, it (being cricket captain) is the second most important job in Australia so obviously being alongside Michael, that is a huge thing. I’ve matured with age, a girl that has turned into a lady, and I’m trying to do everything the best way I can by learning as I go. I’ve had to Wikipedia the rules because I wanted to go into it knowing something. It makes it so much more enjoyable when you know exactly what is going on. And then you really do start to love the game because you can appreciate what is happening.”
Perhaps, it has helped that Clarke himself was a more mature person when he started dating Kyly.
An older, wiser Clarke refused to talk about his personal life and focused media questions on his cricket.
Clarke also has nothing but praise for his wife’s workout ethic especially her diet.
“I can’t believe how disciplined she is with her diet. She’s got that self-discipline to not touch the junk food if she doesn’t want to, whereas if I see it in the cupboard it’s gone, I eat it! I can’t have two pieces of chocolate and put it away, I’ve got to eat the whole bar.”
(Funny how this jells with my personal view that if sportsmen need to watch their diets, they should date or wed models or actresses who do that all the time. Look at Shane Warne’s new, slim, look since teaming up with Elizabeth Hurley—now apart.)
A bad back and an indifferent Ashes series hastened Pup’s early retirement. It, however, gives the couple ample privacy and time to welcome the first addition to their family with Kyly expecting soon.
While two greats exit the field, they begin anew a home life that demands much more from them than just runs, wickets, catches and wins. It is a second innings away from glory but will require guts nonetheless.
“Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust
Hey, I’m gonna get you too
Another one bites the dust
How do you think I’m going to get along,
Without you, when you’re gone
You took me for everything that I had,
And kicked me out on my own
Are you happy, are you satisfied
How long can you stand the heat
Out of the doorway the bullets rip
To the sound of the beat”
What he said (via ESPN Cricinfo):
“I’d love him to be in the team.”
Kiwi skipper Ross Taylor cannot hide his glee at Philip Hughes’ performance in the first Test at Brisbane.
The belligerent opener scored 10 and seven in his two outings in the middle.
The New South Wales batsman’s troubles outside the off stump continue.
If Hughes plays in Tasmania then obviously Chris Martin will be bowling at him and hopefully Martin Guptill takes a third catch too.We had a lot of video footage of all the Australian players and Hughes got caught at second, third slip and gully a lot in the Ashes and in South Africa. That was definitely an area we wanted to target, and with the way Chris Martin bowls, he bowls across the left-hander.
Chris Martin bagged Hughes in both innings.
Michael Clarke put his hand up in defense of his young team-mate.
I look forward to a press conference where I don’t get asked about Phillip Hughes.Once again, not concerning for me. I have confidence that Hughesy will come out in Hobart and perform. He got a hundred not that long ago, 80-odd not that long ago. I’ve seen Hughesy cut that ball for four a number of times. I’m sure he would be disappointed personally that he hasn’t made any runs in this test match, but I’m confident he can put his hand up in Hobart and get a big score for us.
Clarke believes that Hughes can deliver the goods and is a much improved batsman since his Test debut.
I think his technique has improved out of sight.Every one of us has deficiencies in technique. And these days with the footage you can get on players, it’s very easy to find out what those deficiencies are. It’s no different for any batsman. I have seen a lot of improvement. I continue to see him scoring runs. Probably not as consistent as he would like, but he’s still scoring them. His record for NSW is better than any 23-year-old in this country. He’s scored three great hundreds for Australia and I’m confident he can score a lot more.
What Ross Taylor really meant:
“More slip catching practice for us.”
What Ross Taylor definitely didn’t:
“I’d love to have Hughes bat for my life.”
What he said:
“I was dying to go to the bathroom for an hour and a half but I was too scared to move.”
Australia skipper, Michael Clarke, controls his bladder until his team completes a stunning victory over South Africa in the second Test at Johannesburg.
What he really meant:
“And I had no liquids (beer) either for those 90 minutes.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“If we’d lost, it’d have taken the p**s out of me.”
What he said:
“I was starting to stiffen up already.”
Michael Hussey is not a wordsmith. The veteran Australian batsman describes his relief at being taken off after bagging his third Test wicket snaring Kumara Sangakkara.
“I think it was disbelief initially. I couldn’t believe Michael Clarke was going to give me a bowl, when he said that he did sort of say he wouldn’t mind giving me a couple of overs because with a little bit less pace they might be able to chip one out to cover and obviously he was spot on the money. Particularly about the lack of pace and chipping it up to cover.”
“I was pretty shocked but obviously it was a very valuable wicket for the team and I’ll take it any day of the week because he’s obviously one of the of the best players in the world and they had a pretty good partnership going. To be able to break that and then give the guys a chance with the ball reversing a little bit was very fortuitous.”
On skipper Michael Clark’s decision to give him the ball:
“Yeah, well I think there was method to his madness.It wasn’t just about let’s just give anyone a go, it was about trying to bowl a little bit slower. The pitch was slow and it was a little bit hard to drive and Sangakkara probably showed that throughout his innings.”
“It was quite hard to force the ball down the ground, hard to time the ball. Try someone who can take the pace off a little bit more and you never know, he might be able to creat (sic) something and yeah, he was right. He’s certainly a thinking captain and yeah, he had the golden hand today.”
What Hussey really meant:
“I’m not as limber as I used to be.”
What Hussey definitely didn’t:
“I’m Mr. Fantastic.”
Image via Wikipedia
It has been an exhilarating month-and-a-half for cricket aficionados. The two Test series in the antipodes, Australia and South Africa, witnessed enchanting, entertaining cricket from four sides.
The Ashes, whose history goes back over a hundred years, and the Sumo tie between the Goliaths of modern day cricket, India and South Africa, were a treat for the eyes. The Ashes more so for the excellent Hot Spot camera views. No complaints about umpiring decisions there.
“The tables have turned from four years ago when we were in disarray and our selections were poor. Now it is the Australians’ turn to take some pain and grief, because they have got some big question marks about a few of their players and whether they should be picked for the third Test in Perth.
Remember, they gave us plenty of stick four years ago, so don’t shed any tears for them.”