I feel the time is now right for the next generation of players and the next captain to have an opportunity to build the team ahead of the next Ashes series, says captain
Australia, resuming on 241 for 7, was bowled out for 253 on Saturday (August 8) in 40 minutes. After the match, Clarke confirmed that “It’s a tough call, and I have one more Test till the end of my career. I certainly didn’t want to jump ship and leave the boys down, so I’ll play the last Test and go. The time’s right now."
The decision comes on the back of scores of 10, 3, 10 and 13 in the third and fourth Tests, both accompanied by defeats.
BREAKING: Michael Clarke announces his retirement from international cricket, Will play final Test Match at The Oval pic.twitter.com/KbmHF97hjM— ICC (@ICC) August 8, 2015
Clarke insisted the decision was hard, but had to be made given his poor run of form. “It’s always tough (to decide), you don’t want to walk away from the game, but my performances in this series and over the last 12 months haven’t been acceptable.”
Clarke had retired from One-Day Internationals earlier in the year, after leading Australia to World Cup victory on home soil. "ODIs are about the World Cup and Tests are about the Ashes for us. I tried my best, but we got beaten as a team," he said. "I feel the time is now right for the next generation of players and the next captain to have an opportunity to build the team ahead of the next Ashes series. I have been very lucky to have played over a hundred Test matches for Australia. When I came into the team there were 10-11 older brothers or fathers who helped me grow.”
Clarke has battled injury and fitness concerns in recent times. In December last year, he admitted he may never play cricket again after leading Australia to a sensational win over India in the dying moments of play on the final day of the first Test in Adelaide.
He subsequently underwent surgery on his injured hamstring and returned to lead Australia to a 2-0 series sweep in the West Indies ahead of the Ashes.
Clarke burst onto the Test scene by hitting a century on debut against India in Bangalore in 2004 and the Oval Test will be the 115th of Clarke’s career. “I've been very lucky to play over a 100 Tests. I didn't expect that as a young boy,” he said. “There is a lot of talent in the dressing room. No doubt we will bounce back. The potential and the work ethic is there. The support staff have done a fantastic job. I'll keep the faith, that's for sure.”
2 time ICC Cricket World Cup Winner & over 17,000 international runs, what are you favorite Michael Clarke memories? pic.twitter.com/jiCSdZpPyW— ICC (@ICC) August 8, 2015
In all, Clarke has aggregated 8,628 runs in 114 Tests at an average of 49.30 with 28 centuries so far.