Sydney:Australia's next prospective cricket captain Michael Clarke says he has put time with his ill father ahead of a possible million-dollar pay-day from the new Indian Premier League, reports said Sunday.
Clarke's father, Les, has been battling cancer and the batsman said it was one of the factors in his decision to opt out of the IPL, which made several of his Australian teammates rich last week.
"It brings you back to reality," Clarke told Sydney's Sun-Herald newspaper of his father's situation.
"Cricket is a big part of my life but I know now that things can change quickly. It doesn't matter who you are or what you do. Cancer doesn't discriminate.
"Things like that can just happen. It makes me want to enjoy every day of my life. It has made me want to appreciate my whole family much more."
Clarke, who has captained the national Twenty20 team, is the highest profile Australian cricketer to sit out the IPL.
He was likely to have received a huge contract at Wednesday's IPL player auction in Mumbai because of his wide-ranging skills and "marketability", according to agents.
Clarke's teammate, Andrew Symonds, will be paid 1.35 million US dollars to join Hyderabad, one of the eight IPL franchises, for 44 days' work in India in April and May.
Clarke said he supported the IPL and hoped to play a part in the future.
But now the 26-year-old, who is the likely successor to Ricky Ponting as Australia's Test and one-day captain, believes his cricketing and personal aspirations would be best served by being at home.
"He's just finished chemo (chemotherapy) and radiation treatment and the results have been pretty good," Clarke said of his father.
"So I'm looking forward to spending as much time as possible with him. He's bought a fishing charter and he's been wanting me to get out there with him. I want to also spend time with my mum and sister."
Clarke said he wished to stay focused on his international career, including the May-July tour to the West Indies, and had many goals he wanted to achieve for Australia.
"I hope to play international cricket for a long time and I hope to make a great living out of it. But right now it's about making sure I'm fit and healthy. I hope the people in India understand."