Farewell, Michael Clarke

 
Australian captain Michael Clarke will lead his troops for one last time in ODIs in Sunday’s World Cup final against New Zealand at Melbourne. Playing his 245th ODI, Clarke will be hoping for a fitting farewell as his team gears up for a shot at their 5th World Cup title.
 
Clarke’s decision to quit ODIs couldn’t have come at a more opportune moment. Back in 2011, Ricky Ponting’s exit post Australia’s quarter-final loss allowed Clarke to take over the reigns. In 2015, Clarke’s retirement will pave way for the rise of Steve Smith as an able successor. Clearly, Clarke seems to have taken inspiration from his predecessor.
 
In a tumultuous ODI career that spanned more than a decade, Clarke played 244 ODIs for Australia and scored almost 8000 runs with 8 hundreds and 57 half-centuries. As a captain, Clarke has played only 73 ODIs, which goes on to show the kind of impact injuries have had on his ODI place. But as they say, numbers do not necessarily define legacy. "Pup" as he is fondly called, has set an example by his off-field persona as well. His relationship with Cricket Australia over the past four years has been anything but smooth. Yet, Clarke has exuded a calm that many of his generation have only dreamed of. His camaraderie with his teammates speaks volumes of the man’s character. Probably, Clarke’s legacy would be best defined by the way he led Australia following the tragic passing away of his ‘"little brother". 
 

Clarkey has been a strong advocate of Test cricket ever since he stepped into the foray of international cricket in 2003. It isn’t a surprise then, how much of his on-field success has come in Tests as compared to ODIs. Clarke will continue to lead in Tests, with an aim to take Australia to greater heights. Among his notable contributions is a successful Ashes campaign last summer, and Australia’s jump at the top of ICC rankings. A World Cup title to sign off an eventful ODI journey would be the perfect icing on the cake!
 
Cheers, mate.

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