Former Australian Test cricketers Michael Clarke OAM and Karen Hill, nee Price, were inducted as Cricket NSW Life Members at the association’s Annual General Meeting on Monday night at the SCG.
Clarke, who captained Australia in 47 of his 115 Tests, and Karen Price became the 130th and 131st Life Members of Cricket NSW.
Price, a right-arm pace bowler and right-handed batter, represented Australia in eight Test matches and 16 One-Day Internationals between 1975/76 and 1986. Since then she has made an enormous contribution to the game in coaching, administration and now as a researcher at the Bradman Museum in Bowral as part of the Women’s Heritage Council.
One of the pioneers of women’s cricket, her International career included a Test century and best figures of 6-72, both against India. She was vice captain of Australia in 1984.
Clarke, now 39, is the fourth leading run-scorer in Men’s Test cricket for Australia with 8,643 runs at an average almost 50, including a highest score 329 not out made against India, at his beloved SCG, in January 2012.
He is also fourth on the all-time run-scorers’ list for Australia in One-Day International cricket with 7,981 at an average of 44.58.
For NSW, Clarke scored 3,164 First Class runs at 43.34, including 11 centuries, and was part of two Sheffield Shield titles, or Pura Cup as it was then known, in 2003 and 2008.
He was also one of Australia’s finest fielders taking 203 First Class catches and 132 in One-Day cricket. His handy left-arm finger spin produced 42 First Class wickets including best figures of 6-9 for Australia against India in 2004.
Clarke has also been ambassador for several charities, launched his own Cricket Academy and established a media career post retirement. He received the Order of Australia Medal in June.
“It’s such an honour, I cherished my time playing for NSW and that started from a really young age,” said Clarke.
“I think Under 12s was the first Metropolitan squad for NSW, so every Sunday I was training sort of from 12 years of age all the way up to making my debut at 18 years of age.
“Playing for my club Western Suburbs is something I cherished just as much as playing for NSW and Australia.”
Clarke said he was blessed to play during the era that he did.
“I played with so many great players, and I got to see a lot of young super stars make their debut and now go on to be very successful Australian cricketers.
“Obviously the guys you idolised, the Waugh brothers, Michael Bevan and Michael Slater, Glenn McGrath, when I first came into the team, but when they went and represented Australia, we still had a lot of International players playing for NSW, we had a young Brett Lee, Stuart MacGill, Shane Lee and Brad Haddin.
“So, all of those guys had influence, there’s no doubt about it.”
The two Pura Cup wins are a special memory for Clarke but scoring a century with his idol was particularly special.
“I’ve got to say Michael Slater was my idol growing up and I remember we both got hundreds at the Adelaide Oval together.
“As a young batsman getting the chance to bat with his idol, and making a hundred together, that’s probably something me and Slats still talk about regularly when we catch up.”
Photo: Karen Price with Cricket NSW Chairman John Knox.
Since joining her first club, Mirrabooka, Price has given cricket so much.
She first represented NSW in the State Schoolgirls team in 1969/70 and was a regular representative for NSW at Under 21 and Under 25 level, captaining her state at Under 21s.
Price, played 25 matches for NSW at the Women’s State Team Australian Championships from 1972/73 to 1976/77 and 1983/84 to 1986/87, taking 58 wickets at the amazing average of 12, including best figures of 7-22.
During the years away from Women’s cricket between 1977/78 and 1982/83, Karen played Men’s cricket with Normanhurst Cricket Club.
She also captained and represented Australia in Indoor cricket.
After retiring from playing, Price played a key role in the development of women’s cricket. Price was the first National Development Officer to the Australia Women’s Cricket Council.
She particularly assisted with the coaching of the Under 18 and Under 21 NSW Female Development squads in the mid-1980s.
Price also served various administrative positions with her clubs Gordon and Normanhurst, the Sydney Women’s Cricket Association and NSW Women’s Cricket Association.
She has received the Australian Centenary Medal for services to Women's cricket and 'Appreciation Award' for services to the NSW Women's Cricket Association.
“I love cricket and you don’t volunteer for what you get at the end, you volunteer because you enjoy what you’re doing and because you love the sport, or the organisation, or whatever you volunteer for,” said Price.
“I missed not being able to play, doing all these things it allows you stay in touch with the sport. It allows you stay in touch with the friends that you’ve made.
“The one thing I regret about it all is my Dad was the one that got me into cricket, but he died when I was 16. He actually never got to see me play for NSW or for Australia.
“In thanking people, you’ve just got to thank all those people who are running cricket when I first started playing, in the late 1960s, early 1970s, who had no money, there was no money, there was nothing, but they did what they needed to do to be able to offer the game to people.
“I still remember some of the people who were in my first club, Mirrabooka, and I’ve got to thank those people because without them we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
That progress was exemplified in March, at the MCG, for the Final of the Women’s T20 World Cup.
Price was one of the record 86,174 people to see Australia defeat India, joining several old friends for the occasion.
“We could never have imagined it,” Price said
“I played in India and we played in front of crowds in India, but you would never have thought in Australia that you would get a crowd like that.
“It was just sensational.”
Board members the Hon Kevin Greene, Paul Marjoribanks and Neil Maxwell were returned unopposed, while Karen Robbins was re-appointed.