Sydney, July 22: Australian captain Michael Clarke has decided not to participate in this year's Big Bash, Australia's Twenty20 tournament, preferring to concentrate his energies on international assignments.
Talks between Clarke, his management and the Sydney Sixers fell through with the batsmen demanding time for rest and preparation for Test series and Cricket Australia's objective of signing on as many contracted players as possible for the Big Bash.
"With the greatest respect to everybody involved in the T20 Big Bash League, I will not be committing for this year," Clarke said in a statement. "My goal is to play Twenty20 cricket domestically, for sure. But at the moment, I want to prioritise my time and commitment to my role with the Australian team.
Clarke's decision signifies both he and pace bowler Mitchell Johnson have turned the back on the domestic competition as CA-contracted players, including the likes of Shane Watson, Brad Haddin, Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey, will participate.
Clark's recurring back problem resurfaced during a practice match at the Centre for Excellence in Brisbane last week, reminding the national captain that fitness is a priority for him.
Stuart Clark, general manager of the Sixers, said Clarke's was a tough decision, but an appropriate one for the predicament he faces.
"Michael has chosen to concentrate on international cricket and I wish him all the best in that, we haven't shut the door on him playing for the Sixers in the future," Clark told a leading cricket website.