Is Michael Clarke as good as Bradman?

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After Michael Clarke’s recording-breaking double century against South Africa on the first day of the second Test in Adelaide, many cricket experts, commentators and former players are now quick to draw comparisons to him and the great Sir Donald Bradman.

2012 will be remembered as the year Michael Clarke became the first ever batsman in history after more than 2000 Test matches to score four double centuries in a calendar year.

And with three more Test matches to go this year, there is certainly nothing stopping Clarke from getting three more double hundreds.

This year, Clarke has registered scores of 329*, 210, 259* and 230. He is averaging a Bradmanesque 117 this year, has scored 1271 runs, the most in 2012 by a country mile.

He is more than 400 ahead of second placed Hasim Amla. What is amazing is that he has been able to get that many runs in only eight Tests this year (12 innings). That’s even better than Bradman’s best year in 1948 (1025 runs at 114).

The innings in Adelaide on that first day was a pure masterclass display of batting. What was so amazing was that Clarke was able to score most of his runs in boundaries and his strike rate was almost 90. Every single shot he played, it looked like he was in control and it was a joy to watch.

Many cricket experts on ABC Grandstand, Channel Nine and other former players have began comparing his stats to the great Bradman. Over the last 15 years there have been many players who have been compared to Bradman such as Ricky Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara.

After 85 matches, Clarke’s average is now well over 50, he has 21 Test hundreds and 6586 runs. At the rate he is going, and being only 31, by the end of his career he could have close to Ponting’s numbers.

Over the last few years there has been a lot of argument about who is closest to Bradman: Ponting, or Tendulkar?

But with both players not performing well at the moment, can Clarke be the answer to the question?

Ever since taking over the captaincy from Ponting last year, Clarke has averaged 73 and scored almost 2000 runs. His average as vice-captain and player was still a respectable 46.

The last 15 months for Clarke have been golden. Almost overtime he comes out to bat he produces a masterclass display. If he keeps going at a similar rate for another two or three years he could well be our best since Bradman.

It’s a question that will be have to wait for an answer, probably until Ponting, Tendulkar and Clarke all retire.

PS: My tip for the second Test? Australia to win by 150 runs, Ponting to grab a solid half-century and Michael Clarke to be named man-of-the-match.

Statistics (Tests):

Ricky Ponting: 167 Test matches – 13350 runs – 41 Test hundreds, 62 Test fifties – H.S of 257 – Average of 52

Sachin Tendulkar: 192 Test matches – 15554 runs – 51 Test hundreds, 65 Test fifties – H.S of 248* – Average of 55

Michael Clarke: 85 Test matches – 6586 runs – 21 Test hundreds, 22 Test fifties – H.S of 329* – Average of 52

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