Michael Clarke accused of 'cowardly' response to girlfriend incident

The former Aussie cricket captain has copped a spray from radio colleague Ben Fordham.

Michael Clarke, pictured here with girlfriend Jade Yarbrough.
Michael Clarke remained largely silent on his altercation with girlfriend Jade Yarbrough. Image: Getty

Media identity Ben Fordham has taken Michael Clarke to task over his non-response to a public altercation with his girlfriend in Noosa. Clarke returned to his radio job on Sky Sports Big Breakfast on Monday morning, but largely ignored the scandal.

The former Australia cricket captain was filmed in a public stoush with girlfriend Jade Yarbrough and Karl Stefanovic, who is married to Yarbrough's sister Jasmine. In the video, Jade Yarbrough can be heard accusing Clarke of cheating on her and slapping him a number of times.

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On Saturday, Queensland Police said Clarke and Yarbrough had both received fines for public nuisance. The 41-year-old Clarke was expected to address the incident in his return to Sydney radio on Monday morning.

However he let the controversy go straight through to the wicket-keeper and remained largely silent on the matter. Co-host Gerard Middleton started the show by saying: “Now, of course enormous fascination into Clarkey’s life and we are just hitting this on the head straight away.

Michael Clarke, pictured here speaking to the media during in Sydney in 2021.
Michael Clarke speaks to the media during in Sydney in 2021. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images for 2022 T20 World Cup)

“It is a private matter that Clarkey’s obviously been dealing with. A very, very private matter which unfortunately was made public. There’s a lot of factors in play here and Clarkey’s made his statement last week and due to all the factors in play we are moving forward on The Big Sports Breakfast this morning.”

The only mention Clarke made of the matter was in reference to a hamstring injury he suffered in the altercation. Clarke injured his hamstring a number of times towards the end of his playing career.

"You showed us before, that bruise on your hamstring, that is incredible mate. You won’t be able to walk properly for weeks," Middleton said. Clarke responded: “Nah it’s fine buddy, it’s on the mend, I’m good to go, I’m ready, game day, good to go, on the mend."

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Clarke's response has gone down like a lead balloon amongst his radio colleagues, with Fordham particularly critical. Speaking on 2GB later on Monday, Fordham said: “How cowardly can you get? He’s got a microphone in front of him, he’s sitting in a radio studio, it’s the story everyone’s talking about and Clarkey squibs it."

Neil Mitchell also addressed the incident on 3AW radio, accusing Clarke of "carrying on like a bozo bogan" and labelling Stefanovic a "trouble magnet". Mitchell said about Srefanovic: "This wasn’t his fault, he was a witness to all this but he’s a trouble magnet, it just follows him around. Poor old Karl … it’s ugly stuff.”

Stefanovic also appeared to take a jab at Clarke on the Today show on Monday morning when he made multiple references to his own hamstrings. “You can just pull a hammy by sitting down. Hot cream, please," Stefanovic said at one stage.

“It is all about the deep heat. I have seen that kind of injury before."

Michael Clarke's $145,000 commentary gig in doubt

Clarke's bosses at the Big Sports Breakfast revealed last week that he would not lose his job over the scandal, saying it was a private matter. However a lucrative commentary role in India is reportedly in jeopardy.

The 41-year-old is supposed to be commentating Australia's Test tour of India for the India Cricket Board (BCCI) starting next month. However reports have emerged that the BCCI are reviewing his role, which is said to be worth about $145,000. The fact the commentary job is under review could explain his lack of a response on Monday.

Addressing the incident last week, Clarke told the Daily Telegraph: "I'm absolutely gutted I've put people I hold in the highest regard in this position. My actions in the lead-up to this altercation were nothing short of shameful and regrettable. I own this fully and am the only one at fault."

Clarke played 115 Test matches and 245 one-day internationals for Australia, captaining his country in both formats. He is the fifth-highest Test run-scorer in Australia's history with 8643.

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