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28-Mar-2015 06:55:00 GMT
New Zealand v Australia, World Cup Final, MCG

Clarke Announces ODI Retirement

Melbourne: Australia captain Michael Clarke made a shock announcement on Saturday by saying Sunday's World Cup final against New Zealand at the Melbourne Cricket Ground would be his last one-day international.

Clarke, who turns 34 next month, said it was the right time to retire from one-dayers in order to prolong his Test career and give his successor as ODI captain the opportunity to prepare fully for the next World Cup in England in 2019.

Clarke, who replaced Ricky Ponting as ODI skipper four years ago, said his priority now was to play Test cricket, which he said was the pinnacle of the sport.

He announced his impending ODI retirement at the start of his pre-match media conference on Saturday and said he had informed his team-mates, Cricket Australia, chief selector Rod Marsh and coach Darren Lehmann before making his decision public.

While Clarke said it was not for him to anoint Australia's next ODI skipper, he praised 25-year-old Steve Smith's contribution to the current Australian team.

Clarke has played 244 ODIS, scoring 7,907 runs at an average of more than 44, with a highest score of 130.

He said he would leave the Australia one-day team in better shape than the one he inherited in 2011.

Clarke has played in 108 Tests with 8,432 runs at an excellent average of more than 50 and a highest score of 329 not out.

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