Michael Clarke will retire from ODI cricket after Sunday’s Cricket World Cup final.
Clarke announced the news in Saturday’s pre-match press conference, revealing the trans-Tasman decider will be his final ODI.
Thoughts of Australia’s 2019 World Cup campaign were in the forefront of his mind when he made the decision. He said he realised there was no chance he’d still be leading the side in four years.
Steve Smith is yet to be confirmed as Clarke’s successor.
However, that is expected to happen soon given Smith became Australia’s third youngest Test captain during the summer when Clarke was injured.
Clarke said it wasn’t fair to talk about who would takeover, but that it was important they had four years to mould the side.
“I was very fortunate four years ago to get the opportunity to captain this one-day team and that was really good preparation for this World Cup,” Clarke said.
“The next Australian captain deserves the same opportunity.
“It really helped me having that preparation … to build my own team and set my own style up as a captain.”Clarke had been thinking about the decision for some time but only made his mind up after returning home from Thursday’s semi-final against India.
“I got back to my house at about 12.30, (his wife) Kyly was in bed and that’s when I spoke to her about it,” he said.
“I told my teammates 10 minutes ago. I told the selectors and (Cricket Australia boss) James Sutherland about an hour ago.
“There’s no doubt I could keep playing (ODI cricket) for the next couple of years … but I know I’ve made the right decision.”
Clarke will continue to play Test cricket.
“I’m hopeful it will prolong my Test career and that’s a priority for me,” he said.
“I don’t feel bad about saying I feel that Test cricket is the toughest part of our game.
“I see it as the pinnacle … I feel like I’ve still got a lot to offer the Australian Test team as captain.”
Sutherland was full of praise for Clarke, adding that his decision came as “something of a surprise”.
“Michael leaves one-day cricket on his own terms, aiming to finish on an absolute high, in front of a packed MCG as a possible World Cup-winning captain,” Sutherland said.
“Regardless of the result, he will leave the one-day international game as one our greats.”
Sunday’s title decider will be Clarke’s 245th ODI, ending a stellar career that started in 2003. He netted 7907 runs at an average of 44.42.
Only Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and Mark Waugh have scored more ODI runs for Australia.