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Australia’s Clarke set to retire – reports

Michael Clarke

Nottingham:  Australia captain Michael Clarke is set to retire at the end of the ongoing Ashes series, Australian media reported today.

The 34-year-old Clarke, one of the best batsmen of his generation, seems certain to preside over a series-losing defeat in the fourth Test at Nottingham’s Trent Bridge ground on Saturday.

England need just three more wickets for an innings victory which would see them take an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the five-match Ashes campaign.

This Ashes series concludes with the fifth Test at The Oval in south London starting on August 20.

The Sydney Daily Telegraph, the paper for which Clarke writes a column, said the star batsman would retire at the end of the Ashes even though only last week the Australia captain made clear his determination to continue his career.

Clarke, plagued by a longstanding back problem and more recent hamstring trouble, is in a desperate run of form with the bat, having reached 25 just six times in his last 30 Test innings.

And he is now on the brink of becoming the first Australian in more than a century to lose four successive Ashes series in England.

Were Clarke to stand down, heir apparent Steven Smith would likely become Australia’s captain for their next Test series in Bangladesh.

Clarke has made 28 Test centuries, one short of Australia batting great Donald Bradman’s tally, in his 114-match career.

There has been no official confirmation from either Cricket Australia or Clarke himself regarding his future plans, but the situation should be clarified when the captain carries out his usual post-match media duties at Trent Bridge.

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