Australian captain Michael Clarke is in England and he is more determined than ever. This is the first time the Aussies have come over without the legendary Ricky Ponting, who retired from the shorter format at the beginning of the year. Clarke, Ponting’s successor in tests and ODIs, is planning to bring his best game to the English and has stated that he intends to beat the hosts “in their own backyard.”
“We all get older unfortunately, and there comes a time where you are not selected in teams any longer. Fortunately for us Ricky is still playing Test cricket and is a big part of our Test team - and next time we are here for the Ashes, I’m hoping he will be here with us,” he was quoted saying at a press conference at Leicester.
Clarke will lead a group of relatively inexperienced batsmen against an English side who have shown utter dominance in the recent past.
“After he (Ponting) was dropped from the one-day team, we managed to go on and win that tri-series - and then the boys went to the West Indies and did a good job in pretty tough conditions.
“We are the number-one ranked team in the world but we have not been consistent as we would like as a team - and that’s our goal,” Clarke added.
“It looks like they have been playing some really good cricket against West Indies, so we are going to have to be at our best.”
The Aussies have brought along a group of young pace bowlers as well, who will get some much needed exposure ahead of next year’s Ashes tour. Clarke though, has said that neither he nor any of his players will think too much about how to plan to regain the urn and will concentrate on this series completely.
“I think it is important for us as a group not to get too carried away with the Ashes. The reality is if we don't perform as a group and as players now, you don’t even worry about the Ashes - because you are not on that trip.
“Yes, it is the pinnacle - so it is in the back of your mind. But we have a lot of cricket in front of us before we worry about the Ashes,” he was quoted.
At the rate at which England are moving right now, Australia will definitely have their work cut out for them. But then again, their #1 ICC ODI ranking shows just how good they are and have been.
The 5-ODI series starts on Friday, the 29th of June, after a couple of warm-up matches.