Australian batsman Michael Clarke takes his Test cricket very seriously. So seriously in fact, that he has decided to throw in the towel where Twenty20 is concerned so that he can focus on his career in the five and one-day versions of the game. He has thus announced that he is quitting his post of captain of the national T20 team and consequently won't be playing in the 20 over matches against England in the coming week.
T20 specialist Cameron White has been named as the man to fill Clarke's shoes with Tim Paine confirmed as his deputy. The squad also includes fast bowler Brett Lee, who last represented his country in Oct 2009 and has been out of side since then due to injury and poor form. Meanwhile, two uncapped players in Aaron Finch and James Pattinson are slated to make their T20 debuts in the series against England.
Clarke has not been too comfortable in the shortest format of the game as his technically-sound batting style is more suited to the longer versions. He possesses a strike rate in T20s of just above 100 which is not up to the mark.
"I'm retiring from international Twenty20 cricket," Clarke said. "I guess, looking back on this series, my Test cricket isn't where I want it at the moment. This gives me the opportunity to focus wholly and solely on Test cricket and one-day. For me, I've always said Test cricket is the ultimate for me. In saying that, obviously my T20 performances haven't been that great, which made the decision that much easier."
He captained the side in 18 matches and won 12 times, highlighted by Australia reaching the final of the World Twenty20 in the West Indies in May.
Clarke replaced Ponting as Test captain for the final game of this Ashes series, but will have to wait until August to learn if he will be the full-time leader. However, he will captain Australia in the upcoming one-day series against England, as Ponting continues to recover from his finger injury.
The two Twenty20s will be played on Jan 12 and 14, followed by seven ODIs beginning at the MCG on January 16.
Australia squad David Warner, Shane Watson, Cameron White (capt), David Hussey, Aaron Finch, Steven Smith, Tim Paine (wk), Steve O'Keefe, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, James Pattinson, Shaun Tait.