Sport

Lions' Rikki Clarke celebrates Australian tour call-up

Rikki Clarke of the Lions skies a ball during the international tour match between Australia 'A' and England at Blundstone Arena on February 18, 2013 in Hobart, Australia.
Rikki Clarke of the Lions skies a ball during the international tour match between Australia 'A' and England at Blundstone Arena on February 18, 2013 in Hobart, Australia. Mark Nolan / Getty Images

THREE weeks ago, England Lions all-rounder Rikki Clarke was relaxing back home in Birmingham watching his beloved Tottenham Hotspur play on TV.

He even had tickets to go and watch his side in Premier League action at West Bromwich Albion - that was until his got a surprise late call-up to tour Australia with the Lions.

The 31-year-old replaced his Warwickshire teammate Chris Woakes in the squad after Woakes got drafted into the main England team for the current ODI series against New Zealand.

"It was completely unexpected. One moment I was sitting down at home, the next thing I'm being told that I will be flying out with the Lions the following week," Clarke, who equalled the first-class record of seven catches for an outfielder in an innings against Lancashire in 2011, said.

"Now I'm in Australia. It's a bit of a shock but I'm delighted to be here."

The Lions, formerly known as England A, is made up of a mix of promising young players and those on the cusp of the full international team.

Missing the chance to watch Spurs will be a small sacrifice for Clarke if it means he gets the chance to add to the two Test caps and 20 ODIs he has played since making his Test debut against Bangladesh in Dhaka in 2003.

He did his cause no harm by taking 4-55 as the Lions dismal tour of Australia continued as they slumped to a fifth consecutive loss following the 122-run trouncing at the hands of Australia A in the second ODI in Hobart on Monday

Clarke's victims included Joe Burns, but not before the Queenslander, the Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year, had scored 114.

"I've still got massive aspirations to play for my country again and I knew that the Lions was probably the avenue back in for me," Clarke said.

As for his love for Spurs, Clarke said he had no choice - he's even named after the man who scored the most famous goal in Tottenham's history - Ricky Villa's spectacular solo effort against Manchester City in the 1981 FA Cup final replay at Wembley.

Villa went past four defenders before scoring and Rikki's father Rob, a huge Spurs fan, was there to see it.

"I was to be called Glenn (after England and Spurs star Glenn Hoddle), but one of dad's friends named his son Glenn. So I got Rikki because of that goal."

Topics:  australia, cricket



Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Aldi ready to threaten Coles and Woolworths stranglehold

THEY are the little supermarket that could in Australia.

Fingal surf club welcomes grant

Felicity Moore, 5, celebrates the announcement of $20,000 for Fingal Surf Life Saving Club with volunteers Joel Slabb, Leanne Moore, David Dempsey, Allen Wise and Richmond MP Justine Elliot.

Fingal Rovers Surf Life Saving Club has had some welcome help

Latest deals and offers

Barnaby Joyce talks Johnny Depp's dogs in Tweed

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce talks about Johnny Depp's dogs Pistol and Boo...

Road rage caught on Dashcam

Attack with a baseball bat caught on Dashcam

Video of a violent road rage incident in Orange last December.

Malcolm Turnbull and Barnaby Joyce tour Rockhampton sweet potato farm

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce visit a...

Perfect time to invest in Northern Rivers property

The Northern Rivers rental market is tighter than Sydney making it the perfect time for investors to get better returns out of property than superannuation or banks deposits.

Low interest rates and tight rental market are prime time to invest