Melbourne | Australian captain Michael Clarke will retire from ODI cricket after the World Cup summit clash against New Zealand here tomorrow, saying it was the right time to quit the shorter format of the game and give the new skipper enough time to build the team.
Clarke, who is just four days short of his 34th birthday, has played 244 ODIs till now scoring 7907 runs at an average of 44.42 with eight hundreds and 57 half-centuries. He will, however, continue to play for Australia in Test format.
The stylish right-hander, who has been under immense pressure to hold his place in the ODI side, announced his retirement at the pre-match media conference here today.
I just want everyone to know that tomorrow will be my last ODI game for Australia. I have just spoken to my teammates and to James Sutherland and Rod Marsh and Darren Lehmann and informed them that tomorrow will be my last ODI for Australia, Clarke said at the packed media conference.
I just found out that tomorrow will be my 245th one-day game for Australia. It’s certainly been an honour and a privilege to represent my country for that amount of games, and I’m extremely grateful and thankful to every single player I’ve been lucky enough to play with, and this team is certainly no exception to that, said Clarke who has played 244 ODIs for Australia and made 7907 runs at an average of 44.42 with eight hundreds and 57 half-centuries.
Although Clarke had a decent record in ODIs, he was not very successful against India, scoring 858 runs from 30 matches at an average of 39.00. He scored two centuries against India.
Clarke led his country in 73 ODIs, of which Australia won 49. In 108 Tests he played so far, Clarke has scored 8432 runs at an average of 50.79 with 28 hundreds and 27 half centuries.
Clarke has been ravaged by injury in recent months and he underwent surgery after playing in the first Test of the four-match series against India in Adelaide in December last.
Even his participation in the World Cup was in doubt but the selectors gave him time to be fit by the second group match against Bangladesh. Eventually, he regained full fitness and led the side admirably well so far though he has not been in the best of form with the bat.
The New South Wales man said that his successor, likely to be Steven Smith, will now get ample time to prepare himself to lead the side like he got when Ricky Ponting retired from ODIs.
I think its the right time for me and the Australian cricket team. Like I say, I was very fortunate four years ago to get the opportunity to captain this ODI team, and I think that was really good preparation for me leading up to this World Cup, and I think the next Australian captain deserves the same opportunity. I don’t think it’s realistic that I’ll be fit and healthy for the next World Cup. So I believe it’s the right time, he said.
Clarke said that he will be leaving the ODI game at a better time for Australia than when he took over the mantle of captaincy from Ponting.
I think I leave the game, the ODI game for Australian team in a better place than when I took over the captaincy, and I think the last World Cup we were knocked out in the quarterfinal, and this World Cup we’ve been able to make the final, and hopefully we can go on and have success in that final.
So two finals and one quarterfinal for my time in World Cups, and I’m hopeful that it’ll prolong my Test career, as well, and that’s obviously a priority for me, to continue to be successful in the Test format and I think by walking away from ODI cricket it probably gives me my best opportunity, said Clarke.
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