Let's remember Clarke for his great career - James Sutherland

Let's remember Clarke for his great career - James Sutherland
Cricket Australia Chief Executive, James Sutherland, congratulated Michael Clarke for his fantastic career.
©REUTERS / Action Images
 

Cricket Australia (CA) Chief Executive James Sutherland congratulated Michael Clarke by stating that his retirement is a small moment in an otherwise great career. 

Clarke confirmed that he will be retiring after the final Ashes Test at The Oval, following an innings defeat at Trent Bridge, that saw England reclaim the famed urn.

Stating that Clarke was a very special talent, Sutherland reflected on the 34-year-old’s career by hailing him as a courageous player.

“Long before he played Test cricket for Australia we knew we had a very special talented young player in the wings.

“He went on to be a part of perhaps the most successful Australian team ever. He went on to lead Australia through successful times.

“Not long ago, he led Australia to a World Cup victory. I think he will be remembered for his courage and the way he played the game.

“We congratulate him on his career. Unfortunately sports doesn’t always leave you with fairy tale endings.

“For him, he is not finishing on the night that he would like he finishes on.

"This is a small moment in a great career, let’s make sure that we remember what a great career he’s had.” 

Sutherland also commented that Clarke’s legacy will be remembered for playing a crucial role to lead the team back to the number one spot in the Test rankings.

“I think Michael as we know is an aggressive and positive cricketer but he carries that through in the way he has led his team.

"He led Australia back to number one in Test cricket.

“I am not sure that any of us will ever forget that series in South Africa where Australia went to number one, knocked off South Africa on their home turf and he played such a pivotal role in that last Test in Cape Town when he had a broken shoulder and had a great hundred.

“He is a strong and aggressive leader and that came out in the way the players responded to his leadership.” 

Recently, Clarke dismissed retirement talk before the start of the fourth Test, however, his announcement of retirement did not come as a surprise to Sutherland.

“I wasn’t surprised at his decision, knowing and understanding the pressure he was under.

"I guess in terms of surprise it all comes to an end, can come to an end quite quickly.

“The thing for him that I’m pleased about is that he’s a great Australian cricketer who goes out on his own term, not necessarily playing as well or playing in a winning team like he would like to be.

“But he is making a decision that the time is right and I think his judgment is appropriate.” 

Having led Australia in 46 Test matches since 2011, Clarke has overseen 23 wins and 16 losses alongside seven draws as a captain.

As a batsman, Clarke has featured in 114 Tests while amassing 8,628 runs at an average of 49.30 with 28 hundreds and 27 fifties, becoming the fourth highest run-getter for his country.

However, for the past couple of seasons, Clarke’s batting form has been in a steady decline, coupled with injuries that threatened to end his career.

Sutherland reckons that Steve Smith will most likely be the choice to succeed Clarke as a captain, but cautioned that nobody is tailor-made to fit one of the toughest roles in Test cricket.

“We have someone in waiting who has had experience as a captain. In recent months he (Steve Smith) has been rated as the best Test cricketer in the world.

“Steven is ready for this challenge but anyone will tell you, who has been close what has been a Test cricket captain, it’s not an easy job, no one is ready-made to just walk into it and make a great success of it.

“But we still have confidence in Steven who the decision hasn’t been made but he is clearly the heir apparent and we wish him well and we will provide him with all the support in time.

"That is for the future.” 

Just after a spectacular 405-run win at Lord’s, Australia succumbed to two massive back to back defeats at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge, going on to lose the coveted urn.

The third and the fourth Tests ended in under three days, while the Australian batting line-up struggled against some quality swing bowling from the likes of James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes.

Sutherland stated that CA will be launching a review into the performance after the tour is finished, just like they do after every other series.

“As we do after every tour, win, lose or draw, we will review performances and make assessments on things that have happened during the course of the tour.

“It’s a disappointing end to an Ashes series.

"Disappointing given we have had some significant highs including a World Cup win only just a couple of months ago.

“It’s not easy playing away but it’s something we have to get better at.

"We want to be the best cricket team in the world and to do that we have to be better at playing away.” 

The fifth and final Test match of the ongoing Ashes campaign will be held at The Oval in London on the 20th of August. 


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