The rest of his team-mates are still relaxing back at the hotel. Not Clarke. This match is too important. It’s the World Cup Final. And it’s also Clarke’s last one-day international.
He is on the ground hours early for one reason only. To connect to the sense of occasion. Before the place gets too busy.
The night before big Wimbledon finals, Martina Navratilova would gain access to the stands of the Centre Court. At midnight. Just Martina. And the security guards. Her purpose? Firstly -To feel the sense of history. To absorb the deeds of the great champions. Martina – The Centre Court – And it’s eminent history.
Then – To visualise herself playing out the final. And holding aloft the trophy. She would not leave until she felt tingles on the back of her neck. Then Martina knew she was ready. Knew that she had connected.
Martina Navratilova and Michael Clarke are cut from the same winning cloth. They understand the importance of being able to feel the big occasion in their bones. Clarke – The MCG – And it’s place in Australian cricket history. He felt the history. Then saw himself playing a captains innings to see his team to victory.
Clarke’s team overwhelmed New Zealand with their power today. There was absolutely no chance of them choking. Firstly because unlike South Africa, Australian cricketers memories are loaded with positive examples of how past Australian teams deliver in big finals.
And secondly, their captain was perfectly prepared. He had found that special place in himself, that connects your talent, the games history, and the big occasion. Michael Clarke was inhabiting the secret world of champions.