Clarke leaves with Cup in hand | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 30, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 06:44 PM, June 02, 2015

Clarke leaves with Cup in hand

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Afp, Melbourne

Skipper Michael Clarke shrugged off fitness fears, talk of rifts with teammates, coach and selectors to spearhead Australia to a fifth World Cup crown.

It was a fitting finale for Clarke, who played his 245th and last one-day international to lead Australia to a comprehensive seven-wicket over New Zealand in Sunday's final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Clarke, 33, went out on a high, finishing with 74 off 72 balls -- taking his career total to 7,981 runs -- after being largely a peripheral figure for the Australian team in the tournament scoring two half-centuries in six knocks although his leadership and on-field strategy have not been questioned.

Clarke was stung when asked at his media conference following the 95-win semifinal victory over India if his batting style had become redundant for the modern game now stacked up against the audacious shot-makers in his side -- David Warner, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell and Aaron Finch.

"I think I'm doing all right. I think my record is pretty good up against anybody in the world. I think my record holds its place. I'm not concerned at all," retorted Clarke.

Yet his last ODI century came against England in Manchester in September 2013 and up to the World Cup Clarke had played in only six ODIs in the previous year.

Speculation over the state of his fitness also annoyed him after recent battles with hamstring and back problems.

"I think everybody is sick of talking about my injury, my old injury, I should say," said Clarke, who turns 34 next week.

While Clarke was on the sidelines, Steve Smith successfully filled in as captain to lead Australia to a 2-0 Test series victory in the three remaining Tests against India and is expected to take over the ODI role full-time.

Reports at the time suggested the team had taken to Smith's style, while speculation that Clarke wanted to have a strong say in when he was ready to return to the team from injury had caused friction with Cricket Australia.

"It seems like some people in particular are going to write what they want to write," he scowled.

"I'm really happy and comfortable with my relationship with Cricket Australia firstly, certainly with my teammates.

"It's water off a duck's back for me, I've copped it my whole career. It's another day, another newspaper sold. I don't really care."

There was even talk of a fall-out with coach Darren Lehmann and chief selector Rod Marsh over a deadline imposed on him to confirm his place in the World cup squad.

"You won't get headlines out of me," Clarke told reporters.

Sunday's World Cup final triumph was a career pinnacle for Clarke, who won 50 of his 74 ODIs as Australia's skipper.

"It's been an honour and a privilege to represent my country, the time is right for to walk away from one-day cricket," Clarke.

But he isn't finished.

He will continue to play Test cricket looking to add to his 108 matches so far which have yielded 8,432 runs and a highest score of an undefeated 329.

And he will keep honouring former teammate Phillip Hughes who died last year by wearing a black armband in every match he plays.

"The band has got PH on it. I will wear it every game I play for Australia....this victory is dedicated to our little brother Phillip Hughes."

 

Clarke Facts
Born:
April 2, 1981 at Liverpool, New South Wales
ODI debut: against England in Adelaide in 2003
ODI career: 7,981 runs from 245 matches with eight centuries and 58 half-centuries
Average: 44.58 in ODIs with his highest score of 130 coming against India at Bangalore in 2007
Bowling: Part-time left-arm spinner, has 57 wickets 
in ODIs
T20: Played 34 Twenty20 Internationals, before quitting the format in 2011 to focus on Tests and ODIs
Captain: He has led Australia in 74 ODIs, of which Australia won 50. Groomed as a future leader, Clarke took over as Australia captain after Ricky Ponting quit after the 2011 World Cup
Fielding: A brilliant slip fielder, he has taken 106 catches in ODIs

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