Former Australian Test cricket captain Michael Clarke has confirmed he was forced to pull out of filming the third season of Channel 7 reality show SAS Australia at the last minute.
Clarke was due to begin filming the third season of the show in October, but rumours had swirled around whether or not he would proceed with filming amid talk of an expensive appearance fee.
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Reports from News Corp suggested Clarke had requested a $750,000 fee to appear on the program, however he cleared up what had actually happened on a radio appearance last week.
Speaking on Sky Sports Radio's Big Sports Breakfast, Clarke confirmed he had signed up for the show, but a mishap training for the gruelling tasks involved had forced him to withdraw.
The former Aussie captain said the recurrence of a long-running back complaint had left him with no choice.
Clarke memorably struggled with back injuries throughout his international cricketing career.
“Unfortunately I slipped a disc in my back doing the training," he said.
“You get a four-week program where you got to do some stuff in preparation for the show and unfortunately I did my back. I let the guys know a couple of weeks ago that I’d done my disc and then it’s just been physio every day.
“But unfortunately filming is very near. So my back hasn’t improved anywhere near enough.
“Unfortunately I’ve had to pull out which is disappointing but let’s never say never.
“I’ve never been a fan of reality TV. This is probably the one show I thought, there are certainly some out of the comfort zone stuff that I wanted to test myself and I was looking forward to it."
Clarke said filming for the third season of the series was slated to begin in October, and that the relatively brief production time meant he was able to minimise time spent away from family.
Michael Clarke confirms withdrawal from third season of SAS Australia
After playing 115 Test matches and more than 200 ODIs, Clarke announced his retirement from all forms of cricket in 2015.
Since then he has gone on to forge a career in media, notably joining Channel 9's former commentary team before the network lost the cricket broadcasting rights.
Clarke said it was a 'shame' that he would be unable to film for SAS Australia, but said it had been a priority to be at full fitness before embarking on the challenging program.
"My back is my back and it has been my whole career and the last thing I wanted was to wind up in a hospital bed needing surgery. So plenty of physio treatment for now," he said.
“You want to go in there as healthy as you can because you’re doing stuff that’s so far outside your comfort zone physically and mentally.
“I sort of felt obviously having my back issues all through my career, at least if I was fit and healthy, and that’s why the training was so important for me.
“If I was fit and healthy, I’d give myself every chance but unfortunately, slipping a disc in my back, I’m probably four to six weeks of physio every day to be back putting shoes and socks on let alone carrying a 20kg backpack up a hill on a 15kg jog.”
Clarke's co-host, Gerard Middleton quipped the former cricketer 'walked into the office and last week, you looked like you were 84' after suffering the injury.
The second season of SAS Australia is currently airing on Channel 7.
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