Clarke to bid adieu from ODIs

Australian skipper retires from 50-over format to prolong his Test career

Clarke to bid adieu from ODIs

Just a few weeks after claiming that he was not sure if this was his last World Cup, Michael Clarke announced that Sunday’s final against New Zealand at the MCG will be his last ODI for Australia. Clarke said he took the decision to prolong his Test career.

“I just want everyone to know that tomorrow will be my last ODI game for Australia,” he started his retirement statement before he took questions from the packed press conference on Saturday.

“I've just spoken to my team-mates and spoke to James Sutherland (CEO Cricket Australia) and Rod Marsh (Chief selector) and Darren Lehmann (coach) and informed them that tomorrow will be my last ODI for Australia. I'm extremely grateful and thankful. 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 in one-day cricket for that amount of games, and I'm grateful to every single player I've been lucky enough to play with, and this team is certainly no exception to that,” Clarke stated.

There have been questions raised about his fitness and his presence in the team before and after the start of the World Cup and perhaps they will settle after this decision. Clarke so far has scored 7907 runs at an average of 44.42 with eight hundreds and 57 half-centuries.               

“I think it's the right time for me and the Australian cricket team,” he noted. “I was very fortunate four years ago to get the opportunity to captain this one-day 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 here, I'll be fit and healthy for the next four years and available to play the next World Cup, so I believe it's the right time.”

Clarke was part of the squad when Australia won the 2007 Cup and was there when they were knocked out in the quarterfinals by India in 2011 after which he took over the ODI captaincy from Ricky Ponting. The 33-year-old believed he is leaving the team in a better shape than when it was handed over to him.  

“I think I leave the game, the one-day game for the 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,” he remarked.

Clarke said he was completely in control of his emotions after announcing his decision to his team-mates 10 minutes before he walked into address the media. “I've said from day one that the game owes me nothing, I owe the game everything, and I've been really fortunate in my life to be where I am today because of the game of cricket, and one-day cricket has been a huge part of that.

“I know I've made the right decision. I told my teammates 10 minutes ago. I told the selectors and James Sutherland about an hour ago. So really the only people I spoke to were my family over the course of the last 24 hours,” he said.

Clarke factfile

ODIs: 244
Runs: 7,907
Highest score: 130
Average: 44.42
100s: 8
50s: 57
Wickets: 57
Best bowling: 5-35

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