Michael Clarke has joined an elite list of former Australia captains after being appointed an officer in the general division of the Order of Australia as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Clarke, who led Australia to ODI World Cup title on 2015 has been honoured for his “distinguished service to cricket as a player at the national and international level, through leadership roles, and to the community.”

Clarke played 115 Tests, 245 ODIs and 34 T20Is between 2004 and 2015, scoring over 17,000 runs across formats.

“To be honest, I thought it was an April fool’s prank in June. Very surprised but in the same breath very honoured,” Clarke told Australia’s Channel 9.

Ricky Ponting, Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh, Allan Border and Bob Simpson are the other Australia cricketers to have received the honour in the past.

Clarke, who retired in 2015, reckons that cricket will emerge stronger and find a way to be successful again with coronavirus wrecking havoc.

“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,” the 39-year-old said.

He is also upbeat about the future of cricket in Australia.

“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.

“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,” he added.