Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards has paid tribute to Test captain Michael Clarke, who will retire from international cricket at the end of the fifth Ashes Test against England at The Oval.
Clarke, Australia’s 43rd Test captain, will leave the game as the country’s fourth-highest run-scorer behind Ricky Ponting, Allan Border and Steve Waugh.
Edwards lauded Clarke for his outstanding Test career which began in 2004 with a stunning hundred on debut against India in Bangalore. Australia went on to win the series, the first time it had conquered India in India since 1969. He followed that up by scoring a hundred in his first Test on Australian soil against New Zealand later that year making him the only Australian to score a century on both home and away debuts. (England Regain The Ashes | Highlights | Scorecard)
Edwards said: “When Michael made his stunning Test debut in Bangalore back in 2004, Australian cricket knew it had found a very special talent. Even at that early point in his career he was earmarked as a future leader and as his reputation grew it was clear that he was the right man to one day captain Australia. Throughout his captaincy, he has been a thoroughly professional player, a brave and daring leader who has given his all for our country.”
His electrifying start to Test cricket, which included best bowling figures of six for nine against India on that 2004 tour, was a sign of things to come for the exciting New South Welshman.
“There have been many great achievements throughout his cricketing journey but two in particular really put a stamp on his captaincy. Bruised and battered, his courageous hundred against South Africa at Cape Town last year was instrumental in Australia defeating the Proteas and regaining the number one Test ranking. It was an inspirational performance and I was lucky enough to be there to see it,” Edwards said.
“Then of course his innings against India in Adelaide last summer stands as one of the most memorable and emotional episodes in the history of Australian sport. His leadership throughout that tragic time was a mark of his character.
In 114 Tests, he registered 28 centuries including a top score of 329 not out against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 2012. Clarke followed up that innings with 210 in Adelaide, joining Sir Donald Bradman and Wally Hammond as the only players to have made a triple century and a double century in the same series.
His efforts with the bat also saw him earn the title of the world’s number one batsman in the ICC’s world rankings.
Edwards said: “Australian cricket is proud of everything he has achieved, from leading Australia to a history-making ICC Cricket World Cup victory to winning a record four Allan Border Medals as the country’s leading international cricketer.
“He leaves the game as one of our all-time greats and as an excellent example to young Australians about what they can achieve through dedication to their chosen craft.
“We wish Michael well for his final Test match and thank him for his outstanding service to the game.”