Sports

Michael Clarke to retire after the World Cup final

Michael-ClarkeMelbourne: Australia captain Michael Clarke will retire from one-day international cricket after Sunday’s World Cup final against New Zealand in a bid to prolong his test career.

Clarke, who turns 34 next week, announced his decision on the eve of the final, saying ‘It’s about timing for me — now is the right time.’

He said wanted to give his successor a full four-year cycle to prepare and mold a team for the 2019 World Cup, and hoped that a break from the shorter format of the game would allow him to continue playing test cricket for longer.

Clarke has had a chronic back problem throughout his career and has recently struggled with hamstring strains, requiring surgery late last year that kept him out of action for more than two months from the second test against India to Australia’s second match at the World Cup.

Steve Smith, the 25-year-old batsman who deputized as test captain in Clarke’s absence, is a contender to take over the ODI captaincy. George Bailey, who filled in as national skipper in the shorter formats, hasn’t made the starting XI at the World Cup since Clarke’s return.

Sunday’s match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground will be his second appearance in a World Cup final, and his 245th ODI. He made his debut at Adelaide in January 2003, taking a wicket and scoring 39 not out in a four-wicket win over England.

Clarke, a right-handed batsman and left-arm spinner, has largely given up bowling to take pressure off his back.

He has scored eight centuries and 57 half centuries in his 222 ODI innings, compiling 7,907 runs at an average of 44.42. He also took 57 wickets with a best return of 5-35.

Australia will play test series against the West Indies and England after the World Cup, where Clarke will be aiming to add to his 108 test caps.

Previous ArticleNext Article