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Clarke confirms Test retirement after Ashes

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Nottingham, Aug 8:

Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke announced his retirement from Test cricket after England thrashed his team to win the Ashes series on Saturday.

(courtesy: www.dailytelegraph.com.au)
(courtesy: www.dailytelegraph.com.au)

Australia lost the fourth Test by an innings and 78 runs at Trent Bridge cricket ground on Saturday, thereby surrendering the series 3-1 for the fourth consecutive time on foreign soil.

The fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval cricket ground in London later this month will be his last match.

Australia went down 1-2 in the series with emphatic losses in Cardiff and Birmingham and conceding a 331-run first innings deficit here at Trent Bridge after being bowled out for 60 in the morning session of day one.

“Michael Clarke has announced his retirement from international cricket,” cricket.com.au tweeted on Saturday, soon after Australia lost the third Test.

Clarke has come under intense criticism for his poor batting form and failure to lead Australia to an Ashes win. Australia began the series as favourites but have failed to meet expectations.

Within moments of the loss on Saturday, the 34-year-old Michael Clarke announced his decision to quit.

He told Channel 9: “The time is right. I want to play the last Test at The Oval and give it one more crack. I’ll take so many memories away. I’m looking forward to sitting and cheering the boys on. It’s the right time.”

Clarke is understood to have told his teammates before the third day’s play began here at Trent Bridge cricket ground on Saturday that his reign as skipper will be over after the series.

He was seen shaking hands with his teammates at a rare team meeting an hour before play was to resume on the third day at Trent Bridge.

Clarke retired from one-day cricket after this year’s World Cup win at home.

Media reports earlier said Clarke was told his future with the current Test team does not extend beyond this series.

Cricket greats including Australian legends Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath praised Clarke for his contribution.

“I presented him with his first Test cap in Bangalore and to watch him develop into an amazing leader and watch the way he led the Australian team was fun,” Warne said on Channel 9.

“Clarke played the way we like cricket to be played. To me he has been outstanding.”

“He is a strong character. He wanted to try and win the Ashes for the first time in England in his career but that is not going to happen,” McGrath was quoted as saying by BBC radio.

“The team has been well beaten and he has had enough. He’s a strong character and he wanted one last chance, but I don’t think anyone predicted that Australia would play this badly.”

Former England skipper Michael Vaughan said he had sensed the end of Clarke’s career throughout the series. He tweeted: “Great Captain .. Great player .. Huge amount of Respect for @MClarke23 .. #Ashes”.

Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards paid rich tributes to the 43rd Test captain of Australia.

“Even at that early point in his career he was earmarked as a future leader and as his reputation grew it was clear that he was the right man to one day captain Australia. Throughout his captaincy, he has been a thoroughly professional player, a brave and daring leader who has given his all for our country,” he said. (IANS)

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