Our View: Pune Warrior's may hire a Clarke's service.
If negotiations work out for the best over the next few days, Australia's Test captain Michael Clarke may play for Pune Warriors in the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), a team official said on Thursday.
The main obstacle that the Warriors must overcome in luring the 30-year-old Clarke lies in the scheduling of the IPL, which begins on April 4 and runs till May 27.
Australia's upcoming series in the West Indies begins on Friday with the first ODI and is scheduled to end on April 27 - the last day of the final Test. Clarke, if he comes, would need at least a couple of days more to reach India.
"We are in discussions with Clarke and would ideally like him to play for us for the whole season. But if that does not fall through, he could play for us in the latter half of the tournament," the source said.
After April 29, the Warriors will have a total of seven matches left in the group league stage - two each against Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals, and one each against Deccan Chargers, Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The crucial question then is: Would Clarke, who retired from T20 cricket in January 2011, decide to take the plunge for that many matches? Or would he prefer to rest before Australia's prestigious five-match ODI series in England, which begins on June 29? But if he joins the Pune Warriors' ranks, Clarke would certainly be a value-addition to the franchise which sat out of the players' auctions last month due to their off-field problems.
Pune Warriors have already filled all their spots for overseas players, with Australian all-rounders James Hopes and Steven Smith, England's Luke Wright and West Indies batsman Marlon Samuels also having signed ahead of the fifth IPL season. Warriors begin their IPL campaign against Mumbai on April 6.
Source: The Times Of India