Australia captain Michael Clarke had announced that Sunday’s World Cup final against New Zealand at the MCG will be his last ODI.
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 has urged his players to put ‘skill over emotion’ in their bid to down New Zealand in Sunday’s World Cup final, though his swan-song is sure to imbue the match with extra sentiment.
‘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,’ Clarke told reporters.
‘I just said it to my team mates. 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.’
SPOTLIGHT WILL BE ON CROWE TOO
Terminally ill Martin Crowe admits that Sunday’s Cricket World Cup final between his beloved New Zealand and Australia could be the last game he’ll ever see.
Known as one of the game’s most stylish batsmen, the 52-year-old Crowe has been battling a rare blood disease, double-hit lymphoma.
‘My precarious life ahead may not afford me the luxury of many more games to watch and enjoy. So this is likely to be it. The last, maybe, and I can happily live with that,’ wrote Crowe in his column for ESPNCricinfo.com.
‘I will hold back tears all day long. I will gasp for air on occasions. I will feel like a nervous parent.’
Crowe will be at Sunday’s game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground hoping to see Brendon McCullum’s New Zealand win a first World Cup title after previously falling at the semi-final hurdle on six occasions.
‘I will, like so many Kiwis making the short trek across the Tasman, feel this, as McCullum has stated clearly, to be the greatest cricketing time of our lives. Four million dare to believe, while 11 (and back up) dare to achieve.’
Crowe played in 77 Tests, averaged 45.36 and scored 16 centuries which still stands as a New Zealand record.