His domestic form suffered in 2004 as he could manage a first-class batting average of only 31.17 and just nine wickets all season. His one-day performances were even worse, as he passed fifty just once in 11 innings. In a 50 overs a side match played on the 29th April Clarke hit 82 runs off only 28 balls. It included 9 Fours and 6 Sixes. It helped Surrey get to 494-5 against Gloucestershire.
In the 2007 season, Clarke played only ten first-class matches for Surrey, scoring 301 runs and 15 wickets.
Clarke hoped that the move to Derbyshire would improve his chance of being selected for England. Despite Clarke's high hopes, he experienced a poor run of form in the 2008 season that led to him quitting the captaincy. When he made his decision, he was averaging 21 with the bat and 38 with the ball from eight first-class matches. The only first-class half century of his tenure as captain was a score of 81 against Warwickshire in May. At one point, his form was so bad that he dropped himself.
A groin injury to Andrew Flintoff led to Clarke being drafted into the squad for the 2003/04 tour of Bangladesh and on this tour he made his Test debut, at Dhaka. An undistinguished match was followed by a better performance at Chittagong where he made 55 in the first innings and a quickfire 27 from 16 balls in the second helped set up England's match-winning declaration. He also picked up three wickets, returning a notable analysis of 7-4-7-2 in the Bangladeshis' first innings. He played in only the first of the ODIs against Sri Lanka, a disastrous ten-wicket defeat, and was not selected for any other international games on that tour.
At the end of that winter, England toured the West Indies, and Clarke was picked for five of the seven ODIs. He failed completely, not reaching double figures in any of his four innings and taking 3-108 from the 18 overs he was allowed. By the time the tour finally finished in early May, Clarke's international career looked in serious jeopardy, but he was given one more chance by injuries to Flintoff and Marcus Trescothick early in the summer of 2004. Clarke was included for the Leeds ODI against the West Indians, but another failure (conceding 30 runs from four overs) followed, and the selectors had seen enough: Clarke was dropped and has not played for England since.
He enjoyed a better 2005 however, and earned a trip to the Academy.
However in 2006 his luck changed. After averaging 64.66 [including a career best 214] he was drafted into England's one-day squad to play Pakistan. Despite a decent 39 in difficult conditions at Lords he failed with the bat only scoring 45 runs in 3 matches. Like in the West Indies he bowled poorly, overall conceding 64 runs of 10.5 overs with only 1 wicket. He was included in the 2006 Champions Trophy but didn't play. He also failed to make the England 'A' tour.
Thought to be a big talent, Clarke has so far failed to perform to the level expected by his admirers.
Cricket: The Marsh Mantra: It's All Up to You ; England Expectations Academy Puts the Accent on Individual Responsibility Not Classroom Rules
Oct 24, 2004; Students walk bent under umbrellas, and the rain drives across the National Academy's cricket ground. This is Loughborough...