Aussie skipper Michael Clarke will play his final one-day international in Sunday's World Cup final
Last Updated: 28/03/15 10:22am
Australia captain Michael Clarke has announced that he will retire from one-day internationals after Sunday’s World Cup final against New Zealand.
The 33-year-old, who took over as captain when Ricky Ponting stood down after the 2011 World Cup, made the surprise announcement at a Saturday press conference in Melbourne.
Having made his debut in 2003, Clarke has played in 244 one-day internationals, scoring 7,907 runs at an average of 44.42.
However, he is also captain of the Test side and wishes to concentrate on that format of the game after Sunday’s showpiece occasion.
"I think it's the right time for me and the Australian cricket team," said Clarke.
"I made the decision 48 hours ago, when I asked myself if I thought I would be playing in the next World Cup and I said to myself that I don't think I will be.
"I was very fortunate four years ago to get the opportunity to captain this one-day team. That was really good preparation for me leading up to this World Cup and I think the next Australian captain deserves the same opportunity.
"It's obviously a priority for me to continue to be successful in the Test format. By walking away from one-day cricket, it probably gives me my best opportunity.
"I don't feel bad about saying I feel that Test cricket is the toughest part of our game.
It's obviously a priority for me to continue to be successful in the Test format. By walking away from one-day cricket, it probably gives me my best opportunity.
"I love that challenge, I see it as the pinnacle. I feel like I've still got a lot to offer the Australian Test team as captain."
George Bailey has generally led the 50-over team when Clarke has been injured but Steve Smith impressed when standing in as Test skipper against India recently.
Clarke said: “Smithy has certainly matured as a player and a person.
"But I don't think it would be fair for me to go into who is going to be the next captain. It's not my place, it's up to the selectors."
Clarke has captained Australia in 73 one-day matches and victory on Sunday would be a 50th win at the helm.
But New Zealand have won all their matches in the tournament so far, and secured a thrilling one-wicket win over Australia in the group stages.
Clarke said: “New Zealand have been the form team of the competition and beaten us once in this tournament, but I'm confident that, if we play our best, we can beat them tomorrow.
"It's a special game, no doubt about it, but it needs to be about the team and I want it to be about the team.
“I've just said it to my teammates. And I've been the one to come out and say, it's not emotion, it's skill that helps you win major games and major tournaments, and tomorrow will be no different.
"It's a wonderful opportunity for every single player in that changing room to walk out onto the MCG in a World Cup final. It's a very special event but it's no more special because it's my last game."
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland released a statement which said: “Michael informed me and his team-mates of his decision earlier today.
While his decision comes 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. That's very special.
"We congratulate him on a wonderful career in one-day international cricket.
"From the time that he burst onto the scene as an exciting 21-year old way back in January 2003, he was always destined for great things.
"While his decision comes 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. That's very special.
"Regardless of the result, he will leave the one-day international game as one our greats. We thank him for his wonderful contribution to one-day cricket and look forward to his continued leadership at Test level."
Watch the World Cup final, live on Sky Sports World Cup from 3.55am on Sunday