Final ODI was closest to fairytale in sport: Clarke
Having guided his team to World Cup triumph with a pivotal innings, Australian captain Michael Clarke on Sunday described his last day in ODI cricket as nothing short of a fairytale. Australia rode on Clarke’s 72-ball 74 to outplay New Zealand by seven wickets and bag their fifth 50-over World Cup title in front of a record 93,000 MCG crowd.
Asked about how it felt to retire on such a high, Clarke said, “Look, I have said it yesterday that I thought it was the right time. Now I know it’s the right time. I think obviously there’s no such thing as fairytales in sport, but that’s probably as close as it gets for me.
“Not only to win a World Cup but to win in front of your home fans. I think the boys soaked that up from day one and loved every minute of it,” Clarke said at the post match-presentation ceremony.
“I said after our semifinal that mentally we were ready for this final. I think we showed that on Sunday. The whole squad deserves a lot of credit. Every single player has played a big part in us having success and we’ve worked really hard. I think even on Sunday, once we bowled New Zealand out, six or seven of the guys went to the nets for a hit in the lead-up to our batting innings just to make sure they were as well prepared as they could be and be ready to chase those 180 runs,” Clarke was all praise for the intensity showed by boys.
The Phillip Hughes death and the subsequent turn of events had affected Clarke emotionally and he admitted it once again that it was difficult to comeback after such a tragedy. “You know, I think through the whole World Cup, I made it very clear that it was going to be skill, not emotion that won us the World Cup, and I think a lot of the things I’ve said in press conferences have actually been for myself. I’m saying it out loud so I can hear it myself, and I think that’s probably one of the main things I’ve been saying, skill over emotion will win the World Cup for us, and I think I’ve needed to hear that, as well. I’ve needed to say it out loud because it has been emotional, there’s no doubt about it.
To fight my backside off and work as hard as I possibly have to get back into the team, number one, after surgery, and then I guess to deal with what we’ve all dealt with over the last few months and to win a World Cup in front of your home fans, it’s taken amazing discipline from all the players, a lot of hard work, and it’s a fitting reward, like I say, for the pain everyone has gone through,” he added.