Michael Clarke is coming out of retirement to play a grade match in Australia.

Former Australia skipper Michael Clarke launches surprise cricket comeback

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Former Australia captain Michael Clarke is returning to competitive cricket.

Clarke retired from all forms of the game at the end of last summer's Ashes series in England but the 34-year-old will play an Australian grade match for Western Suburbs against Randwick-Petersham starting on February 20.

He told News Limited: "To step away from cricket for four months has been great, I have found my body has enjoyed it and my mind has really enjoyed it too.

"At the same time I've ?realised the game of cricket is in my blood. I've been looking for an outlet to replace what I've chosen to walk away from.

"So I'll start with playing this grade game for Western Suburbs and see if I miss it as much as I feel like I'm going to. If I do, the option is there to train the entire winter and then we'll see what happens."

Clarke averaged 49.10 with the bat in 115 Tests for Australia as well as 44.58 in 245 one-day internationals. He made 36 hundreds and 85 half-centuries across both formats.

He says his comeback will be focused on limited-overs cricket primarily, with the Indian Premier League and his home country's Big Bash League on the agenda, b ut he also opened the door for a possible stint in the English county game. Clarke played 12 County Championship, 12 one-day and six Twenty20 games for Hampshire in 2004.

"There's BBL next summer, I'd love to be a part of that, IPL, county cricket," he said. "There's possibly even Sheffield Shield cricket for NSW.

"All I know is, I'll never say never to anything. I'll start with Western Suburbs and we will see where it takes me. For now, my focus is definitely the shorter format of the game."

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