Clarke rules out ODI retirement

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iol spt sep2 Michael Clarke AP Australia captain Michael Clarke has dismissed any suggestions he might quit one day cricket after returning home from Zimbabwe tour with a hamstring injury. Photo by: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP

Melbourne - Australia captain Michael Clarke has dismissed any suggestions he might quit one day cricket after returning home from Zimbabwe tour with a hamstring injury.

The 33-year-old strained his hamstring in training before a one-day tournament against Zimbabwe and South Africa in Harare following a long break from the game and was forced to miss the first two matches.

Upon returning to the team, he aggravated the injury during Australia's calamitous three-wicket loss to minnows Zimbabwe on Sunday, ruling him out of the rest of the tournament.

With Clarke having suffered back problems in recent seasons, Australian cricket pundits have speculated the skipper might be forced to give up one-day cricket after the 2015 World Cup on home soil.

Clarke, however, was having none of it.

“I love the game as much as I always have,” he told reporters upon arriving home at Sydney airport on Tuesday.

“The last thing I am thinking about is retiring.

“I think I have had a really good run in the last 12 to 18 months and my back's been in really good shape,” Clarke said.

“It's obviously frustrating that I have been training for four months in preparation for getting onto onto the field and I played one game, or half a game, in Zimbabwe.

“But I am really confident. I feel as fit and healthy as I have been throughout my career. I've worked exceptionally hard over the last four months.”

Clarke's selection against Zimbabwe has come under fire from Australian media, as was his decision to come back out to play after retiring hurt during the match.

Clarke said he felt himself fit to play, however.

“I spoke to the doctors and physio in Zimbabwe and I believe we made the right decision,” he added.

“I would have been really disappointed if I got on a plane straight away without seeing how I was going.

“I did all the things in regards to leading up to the game so in my mind I was 100 per cent fit to perform.

“I felt fine. I had two fitness tests four days and then two days before the game. So I ticked all the boxes.”

Clarke was not prepared to back away from his post-match criticism of selectors for failing to pick middle order batsman Steven Smith, an accomplished player of spin bowling, against Zimbabwe.

Clarke's suggestion the selectors had got it wrong earned a rebuke from one of them in head coach Darren Lehmann, who said the captain should keep his thoughts on such matters in-house.

“That's 'Boof's' (Lehmann's) opinion,” Clarke said.

“I have always been open and honest to the media and that's not going to change.” – Reuters


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