Clarke can’t wait for life after cricket

Michael Clarke is over it.

The headlines and hype; the hubris and hyperbole.

The good and bad.

The practice, the pain and politicking.

Pretty much everything about international cricket.

Some dread the end of their careers, given playing the game has been the central theme since childhood.

Clarke, who will play his 115th and final Test when Australia face England in an Ashes dead rubber, isn’t scared of life without cricket.

“I can’t wait,” Clarke quipped on the eve of the fifth Test, which starts on Thursday at The Oval.

“I think I’ll be fine.”

Clarke’s reign as captain might only have a few days left, depending on how the tourists fare on the green strip in London.

Already, the 34-year-old, for so long the symbolic heart, soul and mind of Australian cricket, is emotionally detached.

Take for example Clarke’s indifference when asked if some teammates were playing for not only pride, but their spots in the side.

“Wouldn’t have a clue,” he offered.

When it was pointed out that his absence would create at least one vacancy in the middle order when the side tours Bangladesh in October, Clarke remained aloof.

“Someone can have it,” he laughed.

Clarke is expected to land a gig in the Channel Nine commentary box this summer, while he will captain the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League.

What comes after that remains unclear.

Regardless of the path he takes, it is unlikely to involve Cricket Australia.

Clarke didn’t speak of any strained relationships but made it clear it was time for the two parties to take a break.

“For now, I won’t be involved with Australian cricket,” he said.

“I think it is best that I have some time; it is best for the team as well.

“When you retire, you retire for a reason … there are some fresh ideas and some fresh energy from a lot of the young players.”

However, it would be wrong to suggest Clarke is not committed for the final fling.

Since lobbing in London last week, the right-hander has been training every day.

Clarke is yet to reflect on what has been a marvellous Test career, featuring 8628 runs and 28 tons.

“This week has been about being focused on this last Test match, so I haven’t looked backwards at all yet,” he said.

Incoming captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner have been given a remit of rebuilding the side after a miserable Ashes loss.

It’s not entirely dissimilar to 2011, when Clarke stepped up after Ricky Ponting’s resignation.

“I don’t think it is right for me to sit here and give advice,” he said.

“Davey has played enough cricket; Smithy has played enough cricket. They’ve got a good relationship.

“They’ll be fine – they’ll do a great job.

“I’ve spoken to them both and congratulated them both and I’m really happy for them.”

As for Clarke, his back and hamstrings are ready for some overdue rest.

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