Australian news April 2, 2016

Clint McKay retires from international and Australian first-class cricket

ESPNcricinfo staff

Clint McKay's crowning glory: When he removed Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott and Joe Root to complete a hat-trick against England in 2013 © Getty Images

Clint McKay has announced his retirement from Australian first-class and international cricket. The 33-year old fast bowler will continue to play for Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League and Leicestershire in the county championship.

McKay ended an 11-year relationship with Victoria, for whom he had debuted in November 2006 and last played in February 2016. He was selected in the squad for the Sheffield Shield final two weeks ago, but was not picked in the XI. "It's been a pleasure to be involved with @bushrangers for the past 11 years. All great things come to an end. What an amazing time I had," McKay had said on Twitter on March 30, when his team was crowned first-class champions.

McKay did not have outright pace, which seemed to limit his prospects. He played only one Test and six T20Is but his resume was stronger in ODIs - 59 matches, 97 wickets at an average of 24.37 and economy rate of 4.78.

Most of his success was a result of his accuracy and variations. He dismissed Sachin Tendulkar with a back-of-the-hand slower ball on ODI debut, and helped Australia to victory in a high-scoring game in Hyderabad in November 2009. In 2013, he became the fifth man from his country to take a hat-trick in ODIs when he dismissed Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott and Joe Root in Cardiff.

McKay was named Australia's ODI cricketer of the year in 2013. But 2013 was also the "beginning of the end" of his international career. An ODI series against India played on pitches tailor-made for batsmen, and rules that permitted only four fielders outside the circle in the last 10 overs, resulted in nearly 4000 runs scored in six games. McKay was among the casualties, taking only four wickets at an average of 74.50. He played three more ODIs against England at the start of 2014, but with younger and quicker bowlers than him coming up the ranks, he did not play for Australia again.

"I didn't have a great series of India and that was the beginning of the end," McKay told cricket.com.au. "I came back to Australia and had a good summer - I only played three games but I did quite well in two of those three games. It was a little disappointing to lose my spot but the young generation coming through have got some superstars in the making. They were performing quite well and it was great for them to get their opportunity. It was disappointing that it had to come at my expense but it's just one of those things that happens in the pressure of sport."

McKay was part of a BBL-winning Thunder team in 2015-16, taking 18 wickets, the most by any bowler in the tournament, but squeezing into Victoria's Sheffield Shield team proved a tougher job.

"If the team hadn't been so successful, it would have been a lot harder to take," McKay said, having played only three matches in 2015-16. "But we've got some great young guys coming through and also some senior heads, so it's actually quite a hard side to cement your spot in. You look at the guys who've played in the last two Shield finals - you've got James Pattinson, Peter Siddle and John Hastings who are Australian bowlers, and this year you've seen the younger guys in Scott Boland and Chris Tremain step up."

McKay played 42 first-class matches for Victoria and took 130 wickets, with a best of 6 for 40 in 2011.

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