Aussie cricket legend Michael Clarke has revealed he only ever went to the prestigious Allan Border Medal because it was ‘compulsory’ for players to attend.
The 41-year-old won the medal a record-equalling four times, but it appears he never enjoyed being at one of the sport’s biggest nights, primarily because he ‘couldn’t unwind and drink’.
A former skipper and veteran of 115 Tests and 245 ODI matches, Clarke has often courted the spotlight on and off the field.
‘Pup’ has graced the red carpet at the Allan Border Medal with a glamorous date – from Erina Lea-Connelly to Lara Bingle to ex-wife Kyly – on his arm since 2005, so it comes as some surprise to hear him harshly criticise the medal he won on four occasions.
Michael Clarke has graced the red carpet at the Allan Border Medal for many years, but now says he only went because it was in his contract that he had to
Clarke and prominent journalist Phil ‘Buzz’ Rothfield got into a war of words of sorts over his remarks on Monday, after the pair were discussing the situation NRL club the St George Illawarra Dragons found themselves in at the end of the season, when just three of their squad turned up to the end-of-season presentation night.
Rothfield said such a poorly attended awards ceremony reflected badly on both the club and the players who didn’t go.
‘Three out of 30 St George Illawarra players turning up to their presentation night … there were many, many players who were still in Sydney and chose to boycott the awards … I think it was an appalling decision the players made,’ he said on their Big Sports Breakfast show on Sky Sports Radio.
Prominent sports journalist Phil Rothfield (pictured) was left astounded when Clarke said he only went to the Allan Border Medal because he had to
Clarke agreed it wasn’t ‘a good place for any club to be (in)’, before dropping a bombshell about Australian cricket’s biggest awards ceremony.
‘They are not enjoyable nights,’ he said.
‘I think of (the) Allan Border Medal, right. The Allan Border Medal was compulsory, that’s why I went. If I was given the option, even winning the Allan Border Medal, I wouldn’t have went.
‘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 pi**ed or under the weather, and then you’ve got to read about that the next day,’ said Clarke, who won the medal in 2005, 2009, 2012 and 2013.
It’s an interesting reason for not wanting to attend a glamorous awards ceremony – with free food and drink – to acknowledge the cricket season and thank sponsors and fans given the amount of people who have enjoyed awards ceremonies without ‘being pi**ed or under the weather’.
The footy world both lauded and laughed with Brisbane Lions AFLW coach Craig Starcevich when he down a ‘shoey’ of champagne after Emily Bates won the game’s best and fairest award earlier this year.
Clarke was then coaxed into revealing more about why he hated cricket’s night of nights so much.
Lions coach Craig Starcevich sent the footy world ablaze after downing a champagne ‘shoey’ at the AFLW Awards earlier this year. Fans and pundits lauded the mentor’s love for his players and down-to-earth nature
Dockers star Andrew Brayshaw calmly enjoys a glass of white wine at this year’s Brownlow Medal
Michael Clarke raises a glass of Crown Lager to the crowd after winning the Allan Border Medal in 2012
The former skipper dropped his ex-teammates in it when he said, ‘We went because it was compulsory. We weren’t given an option. It’s in our contract, we had to go.’
Rothfield expressed his ‘surprise’ that Clarke would denigrate the legacy of one of the biggest cult heroes of Australian cricket, Allan Border.
But Clarke insisted his criticism of the Medal evening wasn’t an affront to Border.
‘It’s nothing to do with Allan Border, don’t go there Buzz. Allan Border’s a legend, he’s the godfather. I love AB. Don’t make it personal … I don’t need to go to Crown Casino (where the Medal is held) to see him,’ he said.
‘Don’t make it personal, it’s nothing to do with the medal being called after AB.’
The pair agreed to disagree, before fellow host, league legend Laurie Daley, said he absolutely ‘loved going to the presentation nights’, in stark opposition to Clarke.
Michael Clarke hits the Allan Border Medal carpet with now-ex partners, superstar model Lara Bingle (right) and Kyly Boldy (left), also a model
Michael Clarke enjoyed an incredible career for Australia, including leading the country to a 50 over World Cup win on home soil in 2015
Clarke’s comments fly in the face of what he said after winning the Medal in 2012, when he explained why the night was so special to him.
‘It’s really nice on nights like tonight that individual players get rewarded … for me personally I’ve put in a lot of work over the last couple of years … so I feel very honoured to have won the Allan Border Medal this year,’ Clarke said in an interview with cricket.com.au at the time.
‘You see all the players’ partners get on so well, (and) it’s great to see the boys that have been injured, you get to have a beer with those boys!’
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