TONY SHELDON catches up with Aussie cricket hero Michael Klinger
TWELVE years ago, cricketer Michael Klinger came to England as captain of the Australian Under-19 team for a three-match test series.
As a young exciting batsman, his full test hopes were stifled by the longevity of Mark Taylor, Alan Border, the Waugh brothers and others.
Michael was at Old Trafford cricket ground last week as he showed off his talents for the Australian A team in their test series against the England Lions.
And with his first innings of 66 and an unbeaten 65 in his second knock, the 32-year-old is giving the Aussie selectors plenty to admire as the Australians find themselves in a transitional period.
Born in the Kew district of Melbourne to Bill and Sue Klinger, who died in 2005, Michael became obsessed with cricket when taken to Maccabi AJEX as an eight-year-old.
He signed for his local cricket club in his teens when the family moved to the Caulfield area.
He was educated at Mount Scopus Jewish School and was a Shabbat regular at Kew Synagogue.
In 1997, Michael led Australia to the gold medal at the Maccabiah Games in Israel.
Michael became a member of the Victoria State team in 1998 while taking a university degree in sports science and a masters in business and sports management.
With a bright future beckoning, he was chosen to captain the Australian U-19 tour in 1999.
He remained a Victoria State player until switching his allegiance to South Australia Redbacks in 2008, where he was given the opportunity to bat at number three - his chosen slot.
He was named their captain in 2010.
He won the Allan Border Medal as cricket player of the year in both 2009 and 2010.
His highest score of 255 came against Western Australia in November, 2008, and a month later, Michael hit a one-day 133 in 128 balls against Tasmania.
A couple of years ago, he was prevented from playing county cricket in England by rules that wouldn't allow non-test players to receive a visa.
This season, he finally played in the county championship with Worcestshire on a short-term contract.
In 2009, he was awarded the Neil Dansie Trophy for most outstanding South Australian player.
He also won the Lord Hamden Trophy for best player in the Weet-bix Trophy and he shared the limited overs player of the year award with Callum Ferguson.
Michael, nicknamed Maxy after the M*A*S*H character Maxwell Klinger, is married to Cindy and lives in Adelaide with two-year-old son Baillie and five-month-old daughter Summer.
Cindy used to work in human resources but is now a full-time mum.
He enjoys being at home for Shabbat dinner when his cricket commitments are not taking him the length and breadth of Australia.
Michael also likes to pop into the Adelaide Hebrew Congregation whenever possible.
In 2003 Michael was the club professional for Walkden in the Bolton Cricket League.
He was one of the 350 players under the hammer for the IPL Auction 2011, and was bought by Kochi Tuskers Kerala for £48,000.
While at Old Trafford last week, he admitted that he can't wait to get home to his family, but he would love to be selected for the Australian tour of India at the end of the year and the Ashes in the UK next year.