Michael Clarke cancels Big Bash deal and takes indefinite break

Michael Clarke
Michael Clarke took over the Australia captaincy from Ricky Ponting in March 2011

Former Australia captain Michael Clarke has pulled out of a deal to play in the Big Bash and will take an indefinite break from the game.

Clarke retired from international cricket last month after the fifth Ashes Test against England at The Oval.

The 34-year-old had signed a two-year contract to captain Melbourne Starsexternal-link in Australia's Twenty20 tournament.

"I just think my body and mind need time away from the game of cricket," he told Melbourne's Triple M radio.

Clarke, who has had a long-term back injury, said quitting the international game had prompted him to also consider his future in domestic cricket.

He said: "I just need to take myself away for a little while. Just to see what that's like."

Leaving open the possibility he would take up the second year of his contract with the Stars, he added: "I'm really hopeful the love and passion that I've always had for the game will come back."

Clarke, who scored 8,643 runs in 115 Tests, succeeded Ricky Ponting as Australia captain in March 2011 and won 24 of his 47 matches as skipper.

Michael Clarke with wife Kyly
Clarke is on a European holiday with wife Kyly, who is pregnant with their first child