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Retiring Clarke on par with Border, says Warne

Michael Clarke

Sydney:  Shane Warne likened retiring Australian captain Michael Clarke to all-time great and former skipper Allan Border today as the nation’s media mourned the loss of the Ashes series.

Clarke ended his international career with 8,643 runs in 115 Tests, including 28 hundreds, going out on a high with a comprehensive innings and 46-run win in the fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval on Sunday.

But it was a bittersweet moment with England taking the five-match series 3-2.

Clarke, along with retiring opener Chris Rogers, were given an honour guard as they left the field and Warne paid tribute to his close friend with a touching video tribute.

“Allan Border was the most meticulous in preparation and I think Michael Clarke rivals Allan Border for his preparation in leading up to a game,” the spinning-bowling great said.

He highlighted Clarke’s “unbelievable” leadership after the death of fellow batsman and friend Phillip Hughes, who was struck on the head by a bouncer in a domestic Sheffield Shield match last year and never recovered.

“He was representing the family and Australian cricket, so to be able to handle that when it was one of his best mates, like his brother … I thought the way he handled that stuff was unbelievable.”

Warne hopes Clarke will go on to mentor the next generation of Australian cricketers and said he will be known not only for his skill but his on-field showmanship.

“Clarke will be remembered as a fleet-footed batsman that was a fantastic player of spinners, was great to watch, was easy on the eye, was a flamboyant player,” he said.

“The way he got his runs was pretty great to watch, and the way he did it was with a bit of flair and imagination.”

Despite a stellar career, Clarke, 34, had struggled recently with his final knock of 15 at The Oval capping a series where he managed just 132 runs at an average of 16.50, helping contribute to the series defeat.

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