Michael Clarke's telling swipe amid furore over Australian Cricket Awards

The former Australian cricket captain has made his feelings clear about the contentious issue.

Michael Clarke, pictured here alongside Steve Smith and Beth Mooney.
Steve Smith and Beth Mooney won the top gongs at the Australian Cricket Awards, which Michael Clarke says shouldn't be compulsory for players to attend. Image: Getty

Last year Michael Clarke made his feelings abundantly clear when it comes to whether or not it should be compulsory for players to attend the Australian Cricket Awards. But on Monday ahead of the annual night of nights he wasn't as willing to delve into the subject.

David Warner brought the issue back into the spotlight last week when he bemoaned the fact he had to attend Monday night's awards before flying out to India on Tuesday. With just five days in between his final game for the Sydney Thunder in the BBL and the Test squad's departure to India, Warner said he'd much prefer to spend Monday night at home with his daughters.

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"It's been challenging," Warner told reporters last week about his busy summer. "I'm quite tired, exhausted.

"There are a few guys who have gone to the UAE League, which aren't going to the Cricket Australia awards," he said. "From my perspective, that would've been nice to have had another night at home. But it is what it is."

When asked on Monday night if he was happy to be in attendance, he replied with a laugh: "No. But look, for us, it’s not about the men, it’s about the partners.

"It’s their night, they get to dress up and look absolutely amazing, and obviously we celebrate both teams, men and women and there are going to be two smiling people at the end of this with the Belinda Clark Medal and the Allan Border Medal."

When asked about Warner's previous comments earlier on Monday, Clarke said he didn't want to get 'smoked' again. “Don’t look at me,” he said on the Big Sports Breakfast. “I made comments a while ago about what players thought about nights like these and got absolutely smoked. David’s comments are David’s comments.

“I will say this, I don’t think he’s the only player who feels that way. I promise you he would not be the only player thinking that.”

David Warner, pictured here with wife Candice at the Australian Cricket Awards at Royal Randwick.
David Warner with wife Candice at the Australian Cricket Awards at Royal Randwick. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Michael Clarke slams compulsory attendance at awards

In an on-air stoush with NRL journalist Phil Rothfield last year, Clarke said: “If I was given the option, even winning the Allan Border Medal, I wouldn’t have went (sic).

“Because it’s never the end of season for us. With cricket, it’s a TV program, so everything on there is done for television. And then you’ve got media around the whole time, so you can’t unwind and drink because there will be a photo or a video and someone being p**sed or under the weather, and then you’ve got to read about that the next day."

Clarke took great offence when Rothfield suggested Clarke was 'disrespecting' the great Allan Border - for whom the highest award in Australian men's cricket is named after. “It’s nothing to do with Allan Border, don’t go there," he said. “Allan Border’s a legend, he’s the godfather. I love AB. Don’t make it personal."

Usman Khawaja and wife Rachel, pictured here at the Australian Cricket Awards.
Usman Khawaja and wife Rachel at the Australian Cricket Awards. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

True to Clarke's suggestion, Warner wasn't the only player to express concerns about the busy schedule leading up to Australia's departure for India. Opening partner Usman Khawaja made the staggering admission that he had been considering not playing in the Brisbane Heat's BBL finals clash with Melbourne Renegades in order to spend time with his family.

"We're obviously going away for six-and-a-half weeks, my family is coming over for the AB Medal that's happening. There's a lot happening right now," he said, before eventually deciding to play and leading the Heat to victory.

After the game he said: "I think I need to spend some time with my family. I’m going to miss my girls, all three of them. I’m going be away about six weeks. I’m looking forward to spending the next two or three days with them before we jet off.”

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