Australian captain Michael Clarke has announced that the World Cup final against New Zealand on Sunday will be the last time he plays ODI cricket. Clarke made the announcement at the pre-match press conference on the eve of the final in Melbourne.
"Tomorrow will be my last ODI game for Australia," Clarke said at the start of the press conference. "I've just spoken to my team-mates, spoken to James Sutherland and Rod Marsh and Darren Lehmann and informed them that tomorrow will be my last ODI game for Australia.
"I'm extremely thankful and grateful - I've just found out that tomorrow will be my 245th one-day game - it's been an honour and a priviledge to represent my country for that amount of games. I'm grateful to every player I have been lucky enough to play with and this team is no exception to that.
"I think it is the right time for me and the Australian team. I was very fortunate four years ago to get the opportunity to captain this one-day team. That was really good preparation for me leading up to this World Cup, I think the next Australian captain deserves the same opportunity. I don't think it is realistic that I'll be fit and healthy and available to play the next World Cup so I believe it is the right time.
"I think I'll leave the one-day game for the Australian team in a better place than when I took over the captaincy. Last World Cup we were knocked out in the quarter-final, this World Cup we have been able to make the final and hopefully tomorrow we can go on and have success in that final. So two finals and one quarter-final for my time in World Cups.
"I'm hopeful it will prolong my Test career as well. That's obviously a priority for me, to continue to be successful in the Test format. I think by walking away from one-day cricket it probably gives me my best opportunity."
Clarke has played 244 ODIs for Australia, and made 7907 runs at an average of 44.42 with eight hundreds and 57 half-centuries. He led his country in 73 matches, of which Australia won 49. If Australia win Sunday's final, it will be Clarke's first World Cup trophy as captain.