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Clarke to play Twenty20 cricket in Melbourne

Michael Clarke

Melbourne: Australia test skipper Michael Clarke’s will captain the Melbourne Stars in Australia’s Big Bash League for the next two seasons after not playing Twenty20 cricket for three years.

The announcement was made today at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, where Clarke led Australia to victory over New Zealand in the World Cup final on March 29.

It was Clarke’s last one-day international match. He announced before the final that he was retiring from the 50-over format in order to prolong his test-playing career.

Clarke, whose last Twenty20 match was with the Pune Warriors in the 2012 Indian Premier League, has been affected for much of the past year by back and hamstring injuries. He’ll be available to the Stars in early January 2016 when the Australian test season ends.

One of his Clarke’s Melbourne teammates will be another 34-year-old player, Kevin Pietersen. Clarke reckons they might be playing each other ahead of the Twenty20 tournament if Pietersen gets a recall to the England side for this summer’s Ashes series in England.

The South African-born Pietersen hasn’t played first-class cricket since January 2014 in Sydney, where Australia completed a 5-0 whitewash of England during the last Ashes series.

But Pietersen, who now plays for Surrey in English county cricket, scored 170 runs last week against Oxford University and is eager to impress England selectors ahead of the first Ashes test, which begins July 8 in Cardiff.

“I do think he could be at the Ashes,” Clarke said Friday. “His form, he’s showed that, he’s certainly scoring enough runs. He’s made it very clear he wants to play and now it will come down to the England selectors. At the moment, from the Australians’ perspective, I’m happy if he’s not playing because he’s a wonderful player.”

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