Magnificent Clarke retires from ODIs as World Champion
In a dream farewell, Michael Clarke on Sunday retired from ODIs after leading Australia to their fifth cricket World Cup title, scoring a match-winning 74 in his swansong appearance to get a standing ovation from a 93,000-strong crowd at the MCG.
Australia outplayed New Zealand by 7 wickets as Clarke became the fourth Australian captain after Allan Border (1987), Steve Waugh (1999) and Ricky Ponting (2003, 2007) to win the coveted 50-over prize in world cricket. Clarke, who is just three days short of his 34th birthday, goes out after playing 245 ODIs scoring 7981 runs with eight hundreds and 58 half-centuries. He will, however, continue to play for Australia in Test format. The stylish right-hander, who has been under immense pressure to hold his place in the ODI side, announced his retirement after the semi-final win against India in Sydney. ‘Pup’, as he is fondly called, said the time was just right to bid adieu to ODIs. “Time is right to walk away from one-day cricket, I’ll still be playing Test cricket and I am over the moon,” Clarke said at the presentation.
Clarke dedicates WC triumph to Hughes
Australian captain Michael Clarke on Sunday dedicated his team’s World Cup triumph to Philip Hughes, who tragically lost his life in a freak on-field accident, saying that the late “teammate and little brother” was considered part of the squad through the tournament. “It has been really tough few months and all the players (15 in the squad) would say we played this World Cup with 16 players. Tonight is dedicated to our little brother,” Clarke said at the post-match presentation after Australia thrashed New Zealand by seven wickets at the summit clash at the MCG. Hughes died after being hit on his neck by a bouncer during an Australian domestic Sheffield Shield match at the Sydney Cricket Ground three days before he was to turn 26. “Hughesy used to party as well as any of us. Tonight, we will party with one drink kept for ‘little brother’,” he said.