Here’s what Clarke said after appointed as officer in Order of Australia:
What is officer in Order of Australia?
In the Australian honours system appointments to the Order of Australia confer the highest recognition for outstanding achievement and service. The Officer of the Order of Australia is awarded for distinguished service of a high degree to Australia or humanity at large.
Clarke has been named an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AO) "for distinguished service to cricket as a player at the national and international level, through leadership roles, and to the community."
He played 115 Tests, 245 ODIs and 34 T20s, scoring 8643, 7981 and 488 runs respectively.
"I'm not sure how to express the gratitude and honour I have today, for receiving such a prestigious award," Clarke said in an Instagram post while reacting to the news
"As surprised as I was to be seen in such light, and alongside some of my heroes, it makes me very proud to say that cricket
has given me so much more than I could ever have imagined, and this is another example of why I owe the game so much. Without the support of my family, friends, fans and teammates, I wouldn't be where I am today. This recognition and accolade is as much for you guys as it is for my contribution," he added.
While reacting to the news, Clarke told Channel 9: "To be honest, I thought it was an April fool's prank in June. Very surprised but in the same breath very honoured."
Clarke on cricket in times of Covid-19
Australian captains to get Order of Australia honour
The other Australian captains who have received an AO include Ricky Ponting, Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh, Allan Border and Bob Simpson.
From Jack Ryder (Test captain No.18) to Clarke (No.43), all Test captains have received either an Order of Australia or Order of the British Empire except Kim Hughes, Ian Chappell, Graham Yallop and Barry Jarman.
When asked how cricket will emerge out of the Covid-19 crisis, Clarke sounded upbeat.
"I believe cricket is big part of this country's culture, like all sports
but cricket is the most dominant in our country. It is in our blood and even if you don't sit and watch it, the sound of cricket represents summer," he said.
"We are in great hands when it comes talent in this country. I love the players coming out and saying that if 'we have to take a pay cut because of where the games sit, we are happy to do that'. That shows their character."
Clarke said the game in Australia will be back on track irrespective of the fate of T20 World Cup which is in serious doubt due to the pandemic.
"I am really confident no matter what happens with Covid, whether we get this World Cup in October or start the summer in November, sport will find a way to survive and find a way to be successful."
Cricket Australia, facing losses to the tune of 300 million Australian dollars, is banking heavily on hosting the India Test series later this year to get back on its feet financially.