Michael Clarke announces retirement following Ashes defeat
Australian captain Michael Clarke has announced his retirement from international cricket after his side lost the Ashes to England, following an innings defeat at Trent Bridge.
England, who declared with just 391 runs on board, once again rattled the Australian batting line up, dismissing them for 253 in their second innings, thereby securing the series-clinching win.
Earlier this year, Clarke recovered from a career-threatening hamstring injury to lead his team to victory in the 2015 World Cup, after which he announced his retirement from One-Day Internationals.
However, it was in the Test format that Clarke failed to flourish, scoring just 196 runs at an average of 21.77 from six matches in 2015.
Confirming that he will play one last game at The Oval before bidding goodbye, Clarke stated that it was the right time to leave the stage.
“I’ll have one more Test and that will be the end of my career. I’m retiring from international cricket.
“I certainly don’t want to jump ship and leave the boys now, so I’ll play the last Test at The Oval, give it one last crack, but the time is right now.”
Expressing his disappointment at not being able to lead the team from the front, Clarke admitted that his performances in the last 12 months have left a lot to be desired.
“You never want to walk away from the game but I think my performances in this series and the last 12 months have not been acceptable to me.
“I pride myself on leading from the front, so that’s been disappointing. You build yourself up for the big series, the big tournaments.
“One-day cricket is about the World Cup and Test cricket is about the Ashes.”
Conveying that he and his team gave the best they could in the series, Clarke credited England for outplaying them.
Clarke felt that it was the correct time to hand over the baton in order to allow the incoming captain to prepare his team for the next Ashes series.
“I certainly tried my best, the boys tried their best and we got outplayed. We got beaten.
“Now it’s time for the next generation of players, the next captain to have his opportunity to try and build the team and get them ready for the next Ashes series.”
In the current Ashes, Clarke’s batting was a cause for concern as the Australian middle order was found wanting against the swinging ball, especially at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge.
The 34-year-old failed to register even a single fifty, scoring just 117 runs at 16.71 from the four games played so far.
Emotions were surely running high as Clarke fought back a few tears before he signed off by expressing his confidence in the current crop of Australian cricketers.
“There’s so much talent in that dressing room, the guys can bounce back. The potential is there.”
England captain Alastair Cook congratulated Clarke on behalf of his team on a fantastic career at the post-match presentation.
“Just to Michael from the England team, a fantastic cricketer, a fantastic captain and congratulations to him.
"I can’t believe it. Sorry Michael got emotional and made me emotional as well.”
Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards lauded Clarke for being a brave captain, who puts his country ahead of himself, while thanking Clarke for his services.
Edwards hailed Clarke as an excellent role model for young players, while stating that Australian cricket will forever be proud of his achievements during the tenure.
“Throughout his captaincy, he has been a thoroughly professional player, a brave and daring leader who has given his all for our country.
“Australian cricket is proud of everything he has achieved, from leading Australia to a history-making ICC Cricket World Cup victory to winning a record four Allan Border Medals as the country’s leading international cricketer.
“He leaves the game as one of our all-time greats and as an excellent example to young Australians about what they can achieve through dedication to their chosen craft.
“We wish Michael well for his final Test match and thank him for his outstanding service to the game.”
The final Test of the 2015 Ashes will get underway on the 20th of August at The Oval in London.
© Cricket World 2015