Michael Clarke has shrugged off suggestions his persistent back problem will lead him into an early retirement, and has his sights set on playing for the next five years.
Clarke’s future has been the source of some speculation, with his back issue forcing him to miss sizeable chunks of limited-overs cricket this year.
Despite being diagnosed with degenerative discs in his back at the age of 17, Clarke has managed the problem well and has missed just one Test with injury in his nine-year career.
And the 32-year-old is confident he can keep the problem under control in order to extend his career into his late thirties.
“I won’t be retiring, not for a long time,” Clarke told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.
“I feel as fit and healthy as I’ve been for a long time and my love and drive to have success and be a part of this Australian team and New South Wales team is as strong as ever.
“As long as I’m performing, I think I’ve got a good four or five years left in me.”
Despite being involved in three consecutive losing Ashes series, Clarke insists he can’t wait to get the summer started against the old enemy.
“I’m as excited as I’ve been at the start of any summer,” he said.
“If I didn’t think we could win I wouldn’t take the field.
“You want to win every game you play. That’s part of playing for Australia.
“My love of the game is stronger than it has ever been.
“The older you get, the more you experience the highs and lows.
“It makes you enjoy the good times and enjoy the wins, and also realise that when you’re not winning hard work will turn that around.”