Australia captain Michael Clarke will quit one-day cricket after Sunday’s World Cup summit clash against New Zealand, he announced here in Melbourne on Saturday.
Clarke, 33, made the announcement at the pre-match press conference on the eve of the final at the MCG on Sunday, bringing an end to an ODI career that began in 2003.
Clarke will, however, continue to play Test cricket.
“Tomorrow will be my last ODI game for Australia. I’ve just spoken to my team-mates, spoken to James Sutherland and Rod Marsh and Darren Lehmann and informed them that tomorrow will be my last ODI game for Australia,” he said.
“I’m extremely thankful and grateful – I’ve just found out that tomorrow will be my 245th ODI. It has been an honour and a privilege to represent my country for that amount of games. I’m grateful to every player I have been lucky enough to play with and this team is 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.
He led Australia 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.
He said it was the right time to leave the ODI stage so that another leader takes over as he will not be in the frame to play another World Cup.
I think it is right time for me and Australian team. I was fortunate four years ago to get the opportunity to captain this one-day team. That was really good preparation for me leading up to this World Cup, I think the next Australian captain deserves the same opportunity. I don’t think it is realistic that I’ll be fit and healthy and available to play the next World Cup so I believe it is the right time.
“I think I’ll leave the one-day game for Australian team in a better place than when I took over the captaincy. Last World Cup we were knocked out in the quarter-final, this World Cup we have been able to make the final and hopefully tomorrow we can go on and have success in that final. So two finals and one quarter-final for my time in World Cups,” he said.
Clarke said his priority will now be his Test career which he started in 2004.
“I’m hopeful it will prolong my Test career as well. That’s obviously a priority for me, to continue to be successful in Test format. I think by walking away from ODI cricket it probably gives me my best opportunity.”