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Test cricket the pinnacle, says outgoing Michael Clarke

Melbourne: Australia captain Michael Clarke accepted he may be running against the tide of public opinion but insisted he had no regrets about putting Test cricket above one-day and Twenty20 in his list of priorities in order to prolong his playing career.

Clarke made a surprise announcement on the eve of Sunday`s World Cup final against New Zealand in Melbourne that the showpiece match would mark his 245th and last one-day international for his country.

The 33-year-old said he was making the decision to extend his Test career after an injury-blighted home season which for a time put his playing future in doubt.

Clarke, one of the outstanding batsmen of his generation, made no bones about where his priorities lay ahead of trying to lead Australia to their fifth World Cup title, against the Black Caps at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

"I`ve never hid behind the fact that I find Test cricket to be the pinnacle of our sport," Clarke told a pre-match news conference on Saturday.

"I`ve never probably gone down that road anyway in regards to what is the best thing to do for the public interest, as I`m sure you would have seen through my career.

"I`ve copped my fair share of smacks in the mouth. But I am who I am and it`s about being true to myself, and I don`t feel bad about saying that I believe Test cricket is the toughest part of our game.

"I love that challenge. I find it extremely difficult every Test match I play. I do see it as the pinnacle.

"I love T20 cricket and I love one-day cricket and I will continue to support and watch a lot of that," added Clarke.

"But I still think I`ve got a lot to offer the team as captain of the Australian Test team, and I want to make sure I continue to have success in that format."

Clarke said he was optimistic about the future of Test cricket, despite the great success of the 2015 World Cup and the popularity of Twenty20 matches.

"I certainly am. I think if you ask the players, their opinions aren`t too different to mine," he said.

"I think Test cricket is the ultimate for an Australian sportsman. Long may that continue.

"It mightn`t be that way, but my hope and goal is that Test cricket continues to grow," the New South Wales shot-maker added.

"I think we`ve seen over the past few years some really hard-fought Test cricket, and I think that`s brought a lot of people, a lot of new people to our game.

"I think there`s room for all three formats. I`ve always said that. I`d like to see that continue."

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