Clarke to captain Melbourne Stars

Saturday, 18 April 2015 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Michael Clarke’s recent ODI retirement should clear more space in his schedule next summer – ICC ESPNCricinfo: Michael Clarke will make his BBL debut as captain of the Melbourne Stars next summer after signing with the team for the next two years. Clarke has not played a Twenty20 match since the 2012 IPL and has never played a domestic T20 game in Australia, in large part because of his international commitments over December-January. However, his decision to retire from ODI cricket at the end of the World Cup last month should mean space is cleared in his schedule from next season. Clarke, who grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney, has previously been part of the Sydney Thunder squad but he said he was now looking forward to helping the Melbourne Stars in the search for their first title. “I’ve been fortunate throughout my career to have success in the Test format and in the most recent one-day World Cup,” Clarke said. “There’s a goal I haven’t achieved yet and that’s trying to help a team win the BBL and I look forward over the challenge over the next couple of years trying to help the Melbourne Stars. “I’m really confident. We have a fantastic team and have done for a few years now. I’m hopeful I can help contribute and bring a title to the Melbourne Stars.” Clarke will succeed Cameron White as captain of the Stars - White has switched to cross-town rivals Melbourne Renegades - and David Hussey will lead the Stars when Clarke is unavailable. Clarke has played only 46 Twenty20 matches since his debut in the format more than a decade ago, and he retired from T20 internationals in 2011. His record in the shortest format pales in comparison to his work in 50-over and first-class cricket: he averages 21.05 a strike-rate of 108.22 with one half-century. He said he was keen to improve his record in the T20 game. “I don’t think it’s a point to prove ... obviously I would have liked to have scored more runs than I have,” he said. “My leadership’s had success in the Twenty20 format. [Runs are] a goal for me and I look forward to that challenge.” Clarke’s move will make him a team-mate of Kevin Pietersen, who was second on the BBL run tally last season with 293 runs for the Stars. Pietersen has returned to cricket in England this month, scoring 170 for Surrey in a three-day game in Oxford, and Clarke said he would not be surprised to come up against Pietersen during this year’s Ashes. “He’s certainly showing enough runs,” Clarke said. “He’s made it clear he wants to play ... at the moment from the Australian perspective I’m happy he’s not playing because he’s a wonderful player.”