Clarke set to return to first class cricket, IPL on his radar

Melbourne: Former Australian Test captain Michael Clarke is set to return to first-class cricket six months after he announced international retirement and the lucrative India Premier League is on his radar, according to reports here.

The 34-year-old, who retired from international cricket following Australia’s Ashes defeat last August, has also refused to rule out wearing the baggy green once more, insisting he was in good shape ahead of a grade cricket comeback.

Clarke is likely to make his return for grade team Western Suburbs against Randwick-Petersham in a Sydney club match on February 20-21.

“I’ll start with playing this grade game for Western Suburbs and see if I miss it as much as I feel like I’m going to. If I do, the option is there to train the entire winter and then we’ll see what happens,” local media reported Clarke as having told ‘News Corp’.

He said the game was “in my blood” and the prospect of playing in next year’s Big Bash League, IPL or county cricket appealed to him.

“There’s BBL next summer, I’d love to be a part of that, IPL, county cricket. There’s possibly even Sheffield Shield cricket for NSW,” he said.

He added: “All I know is, I’ll never say never to anything.”

Clarke hung up the boots after a tumultuous final 18 months as Test captain, during which time he struggled for form and fitness, fell out with Australian selectors and buried his close friend Phillip Hughes who died in a freak accident in November 2014.

However, he said the recent break from cricket has rekindled his love of the game and helped his troublesome back recover.

“I’ve still been training all the time. Training has always been such a big part of my life and I enjoy it, so my body is feeling amazing and my back feels outstanding.”

Should his comeback to grade cricket be a success, Clarke could join the likes of England’s Kevin Pietersen and South Africa’s Jacques Kallis on the international Twenty20 circuit.