Clarke relishing return
Michael Clarke is prepared to face the sledging in New Zealand as he returns to Test action after his recent problems.
Last Updated: 17/03/10 9:41am
Michael Clarke is looking forward to concentrating on cricket again and is prepared to face the sledging of the New Zealand crowd as he returns following the recent high-profile upheaval in his private life.
Clarke returns to the tour after the break-up of his relationship with model Lara Bingle, following a national drama when compromising pictures emerged of her.
Australia's vice-captain is back in New Zealand preparing for the Test series having taken some help and advice from cricket legend Shane Warne.
"I have spoken to Warney," Clarke said. "I've spoken to a lot of my friends and my family.
"He's been a wonderful friend of mine for a long time and he was excited to see me back in New Zealand and wished me all the best for Friday's Test match."
Raring to go
The 28-year-old says he is raring to go in first Test against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve on Friday, after a difficult couple of weeks.
Clarke accepted the high level of media interest was part of the job, and also says he will be ready for the inevitable stick he will get from the home crowd in New Zealand.
"Being a professional athlete it's not just about what you do on the field it's about what you do off the field as well," he added.
"I'm sure I will get a little bit of stick but I don't mind that. I think no matter where you go around the world every country wants their team to do well and win.
"We'll wait and see what happens on Friday but I don't think that will affect me too much. I've copped a fair bit of sledging in my time, whether it be about stuff on the field or off the field.
"I have the utmost respect for the New Zealand guys and I'm sure they are the same. We'll play it by ear but I don't think it will affect me."
Clarke, who trained for the first time with the squad on Tuesday, was back in the nets again on Wednesday, and was adamant he was in a good frame of mind heading into the first Test.
"Yesterday it was important to get back into the nets and have a good bat and see that red ball," he said.
"I've seen a lot of the white ball in the Twenty20 and one-day versions of the game of late so it's good to have some practice yesterday and today, and again tomorrow before the Test."