Sydney: Australian captain Michael Clarke struck a landmark triple century at the historical Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) but for the first time in his career there was no personal sponsor sharing the glory.
Clarke smacked the Indian bowling with an unmarked lump bat, after Dunlop Slazenger pulled out of its long-term sponsorship deal. The only visible stickers on his bat were for today's McGrath Foundation Day at the SCG in aid of breast cancer research.
Clarke's new manager James Erskine revealed that Dunlop Slazenger declined to renew its contract when it expired Dec 31.
"I understand that Dunlop Slazenger are finding conditions tough in the current retail environment," Erskine was quoted as saying by The Australian.
"They've had to make sacrifices and unfortunately Michael's contract with the company was one of those. I'm currently in talks with several bat manufacturers and I expect to strike a new bat deal for Michael in the next three weeks," he said.
Spartan Sports, little-known sporting goods company in Wollongong has emerged as one of the favourites to sign a new bat sponsorship deal in the "high six-figures".
Spartan Sports cricket consultant Ian Davis, a former Test opening bat said representatives of the company, which imports its bats from Jalandhar in northern India, would meet Erskine.
Davis, then a senior executive at Dunlop Slazenger, was instrumental in signing Clarke to his first bat contract at the age of 13.
"Clarke's asking price would have only gone through the roof after his knock today. He was already on a high six-figure sum when he was tied to Dunlop Slazenger," he said.