Michael Clarke has been having the time of his life this year as a batsman and his dream run continued today as he brought up his fifth century of the year with a fluent 106 against a hapless Sri Lankan bowling attack! The knock helped him cross Ricky Ponting's record of most runs in a calendar year set in 2005. Clarke in this year has accumulated 1595 runs at an average of 106.33.
Clarke's knock of 106 today is the the lowest 100 plus score by him this year, as on the four previous occasions he had crossed the 200 mark. The Sri Lankan bowlers must have surely been sighing a relief when they saw him walk back after Eranga forced the Australian skipper into playing a loose shot, and happy that he hadn't converted the score to even a bigger one.
Clarke this year has scored a century (106 today vs. Sri Lanka), three double centuries (210 vs. India, 259* and 230 vs. South Africa), and a triple century (329* vs. India). His four scores of two hundred or more has already put him ahead of Bradman and Ponting. But to put all this into some perspective, let's compare it with some other numbers.
Most runs in a single calendar year by an Australian. (click to enlarge)
Looking at the top 10 run-getters for Australia in a calendar year, we can clearly see Michael Clarke being streets ahead. All the other players in the list have played more than 20 innings. Ricky Ponting in 2003 is the exception, having played 18 innings, which is equal to what Clarke has played this year, but the difference in runs is decent margin of 92 runs.
Clarke's career stats and 2012 stats comparison. (click to enlarge)
Comparing Clarke's 2012 statistics with his career statistics, we see a mammoth difference. His average is more than double his career average and that tells a story in itself!
So what has made Clarke transform into Bradmanlike mode this year? Is it the added responsibility of captaincy that has been driving his performance? That very well can be the reason. However digging further into stats, we see Clarke's performance starting to slowly improve since late 2010. In 2011, he averaged 63.38 and this season as we know, has been nothing short of prolific.
Clarke has been living a dream this year and I'm sure he'll remember this year forever. He led Australia to some memorable wins, and slowly is overseeing the rise of the Australian team. He played in the IPL and made an impact and even off the field, he made his conquest, getting married to Kyly Boldy. Perhaps that has been another reason for his awesome run.
Michael Clarke when asked what he thought of the press calling 'top dog', laughed and said "I'll take dog, I've been called worse so dog's a compliment." Surely the pup has become the top dog! The year 2012 perhaps should have been the year of the dog.