Clarke deserves a farewell to match his great career

IF YOU had suggested six weeks ago that England would win the Ashes 4-1 you would have been put in the same

infirmary as those a year ago who said Donald Trump could become president of the United States.

While Trump isn't yet guaranteed the Republican nomination, he has a significant lead that has left the so-called experts shaking their heads.

The Australian selectors have likewise responded to their unforseen circumstances with a mixture of panic and uncertainty.

Their team arrived in England basking in the glow of a World Cup triumph, led by a highly respected captain and with the world's best batsman in the line-up.

England on the other hand had been sent packing from the World Cup before the finals thanks to a loss against Bangladesh, and were in disarray after sacking their coach on the eve of the series.

But with the fifth and final Test to start at The Oval tonight, not only has Australia already lost the Ashes, captain Michael Clarke (pictured) has announced his retirement - and been pinpointed by a host of former players as the man to blame for the team's implosion - and Steve Smith has lost his No.1 ranking to England's Joe Root.

On top of that, 37-year-old opening batsman Chris Rogers - one of the team's few shining lights in the series with 437 runs at 62.42 - is also set to play for the final time before retiring.

Long-serving all-rounder Shane Watson and middle-order batsman Adam Voges have probably played their last Tests for their country, while veteran keeper Brad Haddin has already returned home after being treated shabbily by selectors.

After some mystifying selection decisions during the series, who the selectors choose for the fifth Test is anyone's guess.

But it seems likely all-rounder Mitch Marsh will be recalled to replace his bro

ther Shaun, while young fast bowler Patrick Cummins will get the nod if Josh Hazlewood doesn't overcome a shin complaint.

One thing is certain, Clarke deserves a better send-off than the one he has been given since announcing the match would be his last.

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