Michael Clarke’s step into coaching will take a step up when he leads the Prime Minister’s XI in a Twenty20 fixture against Sri Lanka this month.
Clarke – who played 115 Test matches and 245 one-day internationals for Australia – will mentor a team captained by Adam Voges in the annual match.
The 12-man squad features a raft of promising youngsters, with the clash to be played on Wednesday February 15, as a lead in to Sri Lanka’s three-match Twenty20 series against Australia.
Batsman George Bailey and quick James Pattinson were also included in the team.
“The squad has a really good mix of experienced players and some exciting young talent,” Clarke said.
“I played with and against quite a few players in the team during my career, including captain Adam Voges, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside him.
“Most importantly, this is a great opportunity for all the players in the side to perform against a strong international team.
“I think we’ll be really competitive against Sri Lanka, and I know we can play an exciting brand of cricket in front of what will hopefully be a big crowd in Canberra.”
For Clarke, his appointment could be an indication of his future ambitions.
Widely regarded as an excellent captain in his playing days for his innovative and attacking mindset, the 35-year-old already runs a cricket academy.
His academy run training camps and individual and group sessions and, on their website, say “Clarke’s vision is to create a centre of excellence for young talented cricketers who want to take their game to the highest level.”
He did add in a Twitter post, though, that coaching at the elite level wasn’t something he had thought about extensively.
“Pat Howard and Cricket Australia approached me a few weeks ago and presented me with this opportunity,” he said.
“Coaching isn’t something I have given much thought to at this stage, however I am really looking forward to helping the youngsters out and catching up with a few of the older guys that I played for Australia with.”
Highly rated youngsters, like Victorian batsman Will Pucovski and New South Wales bowler Arjun Nair, are also included in the squad, and national talent manager Greg Chappell said they would learn from the opportunity.
“It’s part of the pick and stretch policy we have with our young players, to keep exposing them to more challenges at the highest level possible, to help them develop their skills,” he said.
“We believe that playing against a touring team and sharing the dressing room with some players that have represented their country is a great learning opportunity for these young players.”
Prime Minister’s XI squad: Adam Voges (captain), George Bailey, Joe Burns, Alex Carey, Arjun Nair, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Jason Sangha, D’Arcy Short, Henry Thornton, Daniel Worrall, Matthew Gikes (12th man)