Bridgetown, Mar 30: Australia skipper Michael Clarke is all set to make his IPL debut after being signed by Pune franchise for $1 million to play the fifth edition of the tournament, clearly stated that playing for the nation will always be his first priority and nothing would be done to jeopardise the decision.
The right-handed batsman has said that his international calendar for the year 2012 which has large breaks between two series, convinced him to take up Pune's offer.
"Representing Australia always comes first for me. I wouldn''t do anything that would physically jeopardise that and I''ve made that very clear. I''ll be having a good break this winter. If there was ever a time for me to have a go at playing in the IPL, it''s now," Clarke told a newspaper.
He gets a three week break before Australia play a ODI series against England in June and July 2012. During the break, Clarke will be playing six IPL games.
Further, he will have a eight week break before the ODI series and two T20 internationals against Pakistan at Sri Lanka (which is not confirmed yet).
It is also learnt that Australia's Test and ODI skipper will replace the World Cup hero Yuvraj Singh, who is recovering from a rare germ cell cancer after being discharged from the Cancer Institute in Boston after completing three cycles of Chemotherapy. Though he is expected to be back in action in the first week of May, he is unlikely to play for Pune Warriors in the fifth edition of IPL.
After resisting the cash-rich IPL, Clarke is playing for Pune Warriors in the fifth edition which doesn't affect his international schedule as that was the reason stated by the skipper during the first four editions of IPL.