Brendon McCullum (left) is surprised with the retirement of Michael Clarke © Getty Images
Brendon McCullum (left) is surprised with the retirement of Michael Clarke © Getty Images

Australian captain Michael Clarke’s retirement announcement post the Ashes 2015 has surprised many in the cricket fraternity, and his New Zealand counterpart Brendon McCullum is one of them. Clarke will be playing his last international cricket match, which will be the fifth and final Test in the ongoing Ashes 2015. Australia have already lost the Ashes 2015 as England completed a 3-1 win at Trent Bridge in Nottingham last week, following which Clarke made the announcement of pulling the plug on his remarkable career. Clarke will be captaining Australia for the one last time — in his 47th Test as the skipper — at The Oval and Steve Smith will be taking over the charge from him.

McCullum has questioned Australia’s handling of matters in the Ashes 2015, but he has also expressed confidence that they will sort out their matters soon. “The Aussies have always produced talented cricketers. It’s just a question of getting them in the right seats on the bus — something I don’t feel they’ve done that well during the Ashes. But they’ll find a way. They usually do,” McCullum wrote in his column in The Daily Mail. ALSO READ: Australia’s humiliating 1st innings is reminiscent of Brazil’s 1-7 loss to Germany

The Kiwis skipper, whose side faced Clarke’s Australia four months ago in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 final in Melbourne and lost, has said that the timing of his counterpart’s retirement has indeed surprised him. McCullum wrote, “As for Clarke, I was surprised by the timing of his decision but I’d rather focus on what a wonderful player he’s been. He was one of the first rock-star cricketers but he backed that up with his runs.” ALSO READ: Michael Clarke lived by the sword and died by it

McCullum has expressed that Smith will find the challenges as the skipper to take Australia back on the right path again. “Australia face another challenge now that Steve Smith is set to replace Michael Clarke as captain. He’ll have his work cut out because they look set to lose a few players and he’ll have to balance his desire to stamp his mark on the team with the need to get results.” ALSO READ: Michael Clarke’s shocking retirement will make Australia poorer

He concluded, “Not many players get to make an impact over such a long period and he can be very proud of his career. It’s always disappointing when a world-class performer leaves on a low but he’s not the first player to discover that sport rarely contains a fairytale ending. I wish him the very best in whatever he does next.”