- Title: CRICKET-ASHES/AUSTRALIA PREPS I want to go out on a high, says Australia's Clarke
- Date: 19th August 2015
- Summary: WATFORD, ENGLAND, UK (FILE - JUNE 21, 2015) (REUTERS) AUSTRALIA PLAYERS IN A HUDDLE CLARKE STRETCHING TRAINING SESSION IN PROGRESS VARIOUS OF CLARKE TALKING TO ASSISTANT COACHES
- Embargoed: 3rd September 2015 13:00
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVAA51G41WW3MWEGOE2T8CDCV8SB
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- Story Text: Australia captain Michael Clarke was in reflective mood on Wednesday (August 19) on the eve of his final test match against England at The Oval as he plotted a consolation victory to finish the series on a high.
Clarke, 34, announced he would retire at the end of the series immediately after his side lost the fourth test at Trent Bridge last week by an innings and 78 runs to relinquish the Ashes.
Speaking to reporters, Clarke said he had prepared for the upcoming game like any of the other 114 tests he has played.
"Pretty similar to every other test match to be honest, it doesn't feel any different at this stage and I don't think it will until the test match is finished. My focus over the last week has been preparing for this test and making sure my body and my mind is as per usual.
"So the boys have trained well yesterday, a fair few of the guys have come down today as well, so looking forward to hopefully finishing on a high. I think this team, you know, we really need to show that grit and determination and resilience throughout this test match and play a lot better than we have done in the last couple," said Clarke.
He admitted that captaining his country was never a goal he dared dream about as a youngster, but that he was grateful to have been given the honour.
"You never dream of captaining Australia that's for sure. You dream of one day playing for Australia. Well I didn't dream of captaining Australia. But yes, I'm grateful that I've had the opportunity, I'm grateful I've had the chance and to all the players that I've captained I just hope I've been able to bring the best out of them. I think that's part of your role as captain of the team to get the best out of each individual player and obviously try and get the best result for the team," he said.
Opener Chris Rogers will also make his final appearance for Australia at The Oval and Clarke conceded that it may be time for some new faces to join the dressing room.
"I think it's the right time for the team and for me to walk away from the game. I think this team now needs some fresh energy. There'll definitely be some fresh faces but that fresh enthusiasm as well so I'm really confident that Australian cricket will continue to perform and continue to get better and I look forward to being able to sit on my couch now and follow the boys closely from there," Clarke said.
The Australian captain admitted his team's performances in the series, which they trail 3-1, had not been good enough.
"I haven't read too much of the criticism or the positives, but I'm sure Australian fans expect the Australian cricket team to play better than we have done throughout this series and they expect the leader to lead from the front and stand up, so the criticism is certainly warranted and like I say we're looking forward to finishing this series on a high," he said.
"I think it's going to be another really tough test match for the batters but we just have to find a way to fight our backsides off. Whether it goes two days or three days I'd just like us to be the right side of that two or three days."
Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin left the Ashes tour to return home earlier this month, with Melbourne's The Age newspaper reporting that the 37-year-old was returning for personal reasons.
Haddin had been granted leave earlier in the tour and missed the second test because his daughter was ill in a London hospital.
Clarke told reporters that he believed Haddin had played his last international test.
"I would think Brad Haddin has probably played his last test match. I'm not sure about the rest of the group to be honest, I don't think it would be fair for me to make that decision but I think Hadds is probably the other one (along with Clarke and Chris Rogers) that's probably played his last test match," said Clarke.
Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood, who has taken 16 wickets in the series, will miss the final test due to niggling injury problems.
Australia could recall the experienced Peter Siddle or Pat Cummins on Thursday (August 20).
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