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My family was my first and best team – Michael Clarke

When I think about what inspires me, my first thoughts go to my family. Mum, Dad and my older sister Leanne were my very first team. My parents set important foundations in Leanne and I. Simple things such as having good manners, contributing around the house, and sitting around the table together at dinner time.
Mum and Dad encouraged us to chase our dreams but never pushed us. Leanne wanted to be a primary school teacher, I wanted to play cricket for Australia. We both reached our dreams, and our parents are as proud of Leanne as they are of me. At home, family was always bigger than the individual, and as a youngster starting out in cricket I already understood the value of being a part of a team.
As a wide-eyed 16 year old travelling the world to play cricket I found the values of honesty, loyalty and trust that my parents established at home, helped me along the way and remain with me today.
I believe that you can only reach the highest level of success with the help of others. I need people to have the honest conversations with, to pick me up when I am feeling down, to give me a pat on the back and tell me it’s OK. My parents Debbie and Les, my sister Leanne are still my best team. I have also been lucky enough to have my good friends, coaches and mentors around me throughout different stages of my career and I hope they realise the important role they have played for me.
Today, as a 40 year old, it’s good to know the traditional family values remain. My parents still insist on dinner around the table and I am still reminded to take my cap off before I sit down to eat.

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