Retired Australia skipper Clarke to return to club cricket

Melbourne, Jan 31 (IANS) Former Australia cricket captain Michael Clarke has announced that he will come out of retirement to play for Sydney grade team Western Suburbs in February, also outlining his desire to play franchise-based Twenty20 tournaments.

Clarke, who scored 8,643 runs in Tests and 7,981 in One-Day Internationals (ODI), quit the game after last summer’s Ashes series and will play his first game on February 20-21. His final ODI match was the final of the 2015 World Cup that he won as the captain on March 29.

“I’ve realised the game of cricket is in my blood. I’ll start with this grade game and see if I miss it as much as I feel like I’m going to. If I do, the option is there to train the entire winter and then we’ll see what happens,” Clarke was quoted as saying by BBC on Saturday.

Western Suburbs, the club Clarke played for as a youngster, face Randwick Petersham in a two-day first grade match at Pratten Park starting on February 20.

The 34-year-old, who played 115 Tests and 245 ODIs for Australia, said his comeback will primarily focus on limited-overs cricket.

“My focus is definitely the shorter format of the game,” Clarke said, also adding that he would “love to be a part” of Australia’s Big Bash League, the Indian Premier League and English county cricket.

“There’s possibly even Sheffield Shield cricket for New South Wales. All I know is, I’ll never say never to anything. I’ll start with Western Suburbs and we will see where it takes me,” the 2007 World Cup player said.

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