Michael Clarke treats final game as just another ODI
cricbuzz 2015-09-18 03:36

Australia captain Michael Clarke was true to his word - he treated the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 final against New Zealand as just another game, until the winning runs were scored and he had to attend to small matters like trophy presentations, celebrations, media interactions punctuated by an appearance at a dope test!

And, as always, he put team ahead of himself.

"I really didn't want to take anything away from the team even announcing my retirement from one-day cricket (on Saturday). Even tonight, I really wanted to run off the field. I wanted that applause for the team. And we got that. I think the way the crowd hung around for us to raise that trophy, the World Cup trophy, I think was very special for all the players.

"I think tomorrow's press is going to be about the team, and if I had announced it tonight, tomorrow's press wouldn't have been about the team. I've probably taken one day of media rather than a week of it. I'm hoping the next week is full of positive things about every single player in that change room and what they've achieved in this tournament," he said

"I said that I thought it was the right time. Now I know it's the right time. I think obviously there's no such thing as fairy tales in sport but that's probably as close as it gets for me. Not only to win a World Cup but to win in front of your home fans, and there was a lot of expectation, there was a lot of added pressure, the fact that we're playing in Australia in front of our home fans, and I think the boys soaked that up from day one and loved every minute of it," Clarke said.

His pre-game routine had not changed just because this was the World Cup final.

"Normally I reach the ground earlier than the team so I can get my own personal preparation done. So, once the team arrives I'm able to worry about every other player. I've done that my whole captaincy career, so today was no different. I like to make sure my body is warm, look at the wicket, and then do my batting in the net before the boys arrive," he said.

Clarke got a tremendous reception when he walked in to bat and got a standing ovation from the MCG when he was bowled after a neatly compiled half-century. "I don't think I can leave on a better note. Like I say, there's no such thing as fairy-tales, but it's as close as it gets for me personally," he said. "This game has been so good to me, and I'm extremely grateful, and I'll forever pay that back."

Playing in his 245th and final ODI, Clarke said he did not want to rush away from the heady feeling of having won the World Cup. "I want to enjoy over the next few days, I want to enjoy what we've achieved as a team. I want to enjoy what I've achieved as a one-day cricketer for Australia and then I'll have a think about things and assess them," he said.

"I've been playing this great game since I was seven. I'm going to enjoy hopefully a little bit more free time to be able to spend with my family and be at home. There's things I'd like to do in regards to business outside of cricket and I think this probably gives me a little opportunity to step into that world and enjoy some stuff outside the game, as well," he said

"My goal is definitely to try and help the Test team to get back to No. 1. We've got some really tough cricket ahead of us, West Indies tour and obviously the Ashes, and then some tough cricket back in Australia, as well. For me right now, I want to enjoy this moment. I've been absolutely blessed.

"This team is full of amazing talent. I think at the end of a lot of their careers they'll be great to the game. I certainly can't ask for anything more. This is a magnificent feeling, there's no doubt about it, and it's because the team has been through so much and we're able to still walk out onto that cricket field and perform," he said.

He walks away from ODI cricket with 7981 runs against his name, scoring at least one half-century in fewer than four games. He leaves a great legacy and a team that can be called the World Champion one more time. So what if he treated his final ODI match as just another game!

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