Michael Clarke. As much as we love you mate, your time in the ODI team has expired.
You are a brilliant Test cricketer. You’re also a bloody good captain. Watching the complete highlights of the Ashes series remind me of that fact. In you, we have a leader with the bat and a very smart cricket brain. Keep up the good work.
When it comes to One Day Internationals though Clarkey, I am afraid that your time is up. You would have made an unreal ODI player in the 1980s and ’90s. You might have even made Mark Waugh look slow. But these days, there are simply too many quality players knocking on the door that offer that bit extra to the team.
I know Clarkey. That damn T20 has gone and ruined things again. It’s the aggressive nature of T20 cricket that has demanded a greater strike rate, as a 280 score in ODIs these days isn’t a big one, it’s a par.
I remember as a kid thinking ‘holy crap’ when Andrew Symonds and company would put the clobber on at the end of a match to scrape the team past the 300 mark. These days, it’s a formality for a good score, not a great one.
Clarke’s ODI strike rate, at 78, mimics his List A average as well. Unfortunately it’s just a little too low these days. A quick investigation reveals it’s the lowest of the current playing team by some way, with the average being over 90.
I also subscribe to the idea of Clarke being preserved as a Test Cricket player. Mate, we want you to be a part of belting the Poms for a few more Ashes series yet. With the back issues and other niggles constantly playing a part, why would you add more pressure to the body for a few pyjama matches?
In George Bailey, we’ve found a great leader of men in the shorter form of the game. I’ve always been impressed with his humility, humour, conservative confidence and leadership with the bat. An average of 52 with a strike rate of 92 is testament to that.
We’re also sitting pretty as the number one team in the world. A spot that is fiercely competitive right now, such is the talent that all teams are blessed with.
On that note Clarkey, it’s time to hang up the ODI gloves. Let some of the younger boys have a run. Preserve yourself for the greatest format of all. We won’t forget you as a talented ODI player, a solid batsman who builds a steady innings, a handy part-time spinner and incredible fielder.
You’ve earned that place in history. But now, it’s time to retire with style and move on.