Stuart Clark has confided that his international test career is over for now, but refuses to give up hopes. The 34-year-old Aussie has yet refused to hang his Baggy Green even as he is unable to make it to the national side this summer. Clark is nursing a back injury that could possibly end his hopes to play internationally.
Clark quoted on Monday, December 14, 2009, “It’s something I’ve dealt with (being overlooked). I’m not sure where I stand in terms of playing international cricket again, but I do agree it’s looking very unlikely. I’m very real about the fact I may never play for Australia again but the furthest thing from my mind is retirement. I think I’ve still got something to contribute to NSW cricket and if that’s all I do, well, I’ll be happy.”
The pacer will be out of action until after Christmas owing to the injury. Had Clark been a batsman or a wicketkeeper, it would have been regarded unwise to continue to toiling on a next-to-impossible future. Former Australian teammate, Jason Gillespie also made a late comeback to cricket and played many eventful innings before retiring on a high note. Gillespie was named the Man of the Match and also the Man of the Series at the 2006 tour to Bangladesh. His final test match saw him score an unbeaten double century. Earlier on, critics had rules out Gillespie to make a comeback to the national side but he proved them wrong. Clark is also hoping for a similar fate.
Clark has proposed plans to play for 2 more years before calling it quits. Currently, he is on the verge of stitching up a deal with the English County club, Kent for the 2010 season. He also plans to draft out the agreement with an option for the following year, 2011. Despite sitting out, Clark is in support of the national selectors, “It is disappointing not to be in the team but the selectors have got a tough choice and I am not always going to agree with what they say.” He also clarified that he had no tension with Tim Nielsen, the Australian Coach and that their relationship provided hindrance to his selection.
Andrew Hilditch, the Chief Selector for Australia agreed that Clark is likely to get selected provided his form is up to the mark. “We’d like to win every Test match going into the Ashes because we’re trying to build confidence in the new team, but we have our eye very much on the Ashes. If our assessment at the time is Stuart’s the best bowler for the Ashes and he’s still going well, then so be it,” Hilditch said.
Clark is also hoping to gain his form in England when Australia plays against Pakistan. The Lords and Headingley are hosting a 2-test series between the two nations next year. It is difficult to come back from the stage Clark is and sources inside the Australian Cricket say that a surgery that he undertook last year to remove a bone spur from his bowling elbow cost him a few yards of pace, thus affecting immensely his form and performance.