After Michael Clarke's declared while batting on 329 many theories started doing the rounds as to why he gave up a shot at a world record and the immortality that goes with it.
The most obvious one was he wanted to pay homage to Don Bradman and not pass his 334, much like Mark Taylor had done 13 years ago against Pakistan at Peshawar after an overnight discussion with then Australian Prime Minister John Howard. The most absurd one was he wanted to pay his respects to Inzamam-ul Haq, who also struck 329 in a Test innings against New Zealand. As plausible as the former sounds, in truth it is as bogus as the latter.
Clarke let the whole world know the truth at the end of the day's play. It wasn't about the Don, Taylor or the former Pakistan skipper - it was all about winning. "I didn't think about it at all, I didn't have Don Bradman or Mark Taylor's scores in my head whatsoever," Clarke said, when asked if he had the Don's record in mind when he made the declaration. "It was about trying to get the team to a number, a total I thought would be a good score to make a declaration, then have a crack this afternoon to get a couple of wickets."
"It is about putting the team first, that's why we play. What I love most about this game is seeing this team win. I've always been like that as a player and I'll be no different as a captain. If it was best for the team to continue batting, I would have continued to bat." The honesty and the approach which ideally should've been lauded, was being questioned. What were the motives behind this declaration, they asked.
As Wasim Akram put it, "A great captain doesn't have individual records in mind. I remember Imran Khan declaring when Javed Miandad was on 280 (against India). A war could have almost erupted in the dressing room but the authoritative presence that Imran had, he went up to Javed and said 'records are all fine, but at the end of the day I want my team to win'. No one said a word after that."
Imran's declaration may not have won him a place at Miandad's dinner table that night, but a little over two days later it won him a match against India. Will Clarke's declaration be met with similar success? Watch this space.