Clarke confirms Test retirement after Ashes
Ravaged by injuries and struggling like never before for form, inspirational Australian captain Michael Clarke on Saturday announced he would retire from Test cricket after the fifth and final match of a horror Ashes series against old foes England.
The 34-year-old, whose prolific career has been marred by nagging back and ankle problems that required him to go under the knife earlier this year, has already quit ODI and Twenty20 cricket.
“I’ll have one more Test and that will be the end of my career. I’m retiring from international cricket,” Clarke said after Australia were hammered by an innings and 78 runs in the fourth Ashes Test here on Saturday.
Saturday’s defeat gave England an unassailable 3-1 lead and the coveted urn. The fifth and final match is scheduled from August 20 at the Oval and would be Clarke’s 115th five-day game.
“I want to play the last Test at The Oval and give it one more crack. You never want to walk away. (But) My performances over the past 12 months have not been acceptable to me,” said the right-handed batsman who broke down at the presentation ceremony.
Clarke, who took over from Ricky Ponting in 2011, has not scored a 50 in his last six Tests – a miserable stat for a player who made 12 hundreds in his first 30 matches as captain. Adding to this was the ignominy of losing to traditional rivals England away from home with two of the defeats coming inside three days.
“Test cricket is about the Ashes. We tried our best, I certainly tried my best but we got outplayed. It’s time for the next generation,” said the dejected skipper, who has scored 28 hundreds in his career so far with an unbeaten 329 being his best. Clarke’s 114 Test appearances so far have yielded 8,628 runs at an impressive average of 49.30. He scored 7,981 runs in 245 ODIs at an average of 44.58.
“I made a decision last night after I got home. Boys were surprised, I don’t think they expected me to walk away right now. I owe the game everything. I’ll take so many memories away,” he said.