Sydney: Australian captain Michael Clarke's dad, Les Clarke has revealed how his son helped fight and survive two cancer battles.
Les says beneath the veneer of Clarke's red-hot form, the skipper has carried a burden greater than any misgivings about his public reputation.
"I'm very lucky, I've lost a couple of mates the last few years with different cancers and I wonder why I'm still here. Still alive. It's a lucky dip," News.com.au quoted Les, as saying, who was in the Gabba stands last week as Clarke took the willow to the Proteas attack.
"Michael and I have had our talks and shed some tears. I remember, one day, just laying it on the line about my health, but I told Michael to get on with it. As I said to him, sometimes you just have to stand up and fight," he added.
According to the paper, Les was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma and 2007 and two-and-a-half years ago he discovered problems with his prostate.
Yet there he was at the Gabba, steadfast as ever, watching the son who clearly adopts his father's fighting qualities, the paper said.
"Michael was away a fair bit with cricket through that time. He found it hard. There were times when he would want to come home but I told him the best thing was for him to play cricket," Les said.
"He had tunnel vision, he had goals at a young age to play for Australia and he went after it. I remember when he was 16, he said, 'Dad, school is interfering with my (cricket) training, I want to leave school'. He just had one goal and that was to play cricket for Australia," he added.