Australia’s vice-captain Shane Watson has admitted that he and his team want to bring back their winning ways and take the urn home with them after next year’s Ashes series. Watson was quoted at a press conference that his team will have to remove all the negative thoughts of losing the prestigious series to their rivals England in 2009 as well as 2010-11, which would affect them mentally, till they have won the urn back.
The ODI series in England which starts soon will help the new players on the Aussie side to experience what playing in England is all about, but Watson said the 2012 reconnaissance would be only of superficial value in ridding himself and others of the wounds incurred in past losses.
“Until you can get into the Ashes and perform the way we need to perform those memories are going to be in the back of your mind,” Watson said.
“Everything we are doing is to try to improve every single time we train and play. Hopefully that will continue our development and improvement leading into the Ashes and we will have some happier memories than the previous couple of series.
“But there is no doubt we have to improve in a big way from the past Ashes series. We are working hard on the areas that we were deficient at. That is why this next year is about continuing our development in the areas that were just not good enough against the Poms in the past couple of series here and in the series in Australia as well.”
Australia were out-performed by England in almost every aspect of the game in the previous Ashes tour and Watson pointed out the failure with the bat as the biggest reason. Their loss of 8 wickets at the Oval was a big disappointment as a draw would have been enough to retain the urn. There was also the humiliating 98-all out on Boxing Day.
“One of our biggest weaknesses was our batting collapses. That is something that we are trying to continue to work on,” Watson said.
“Like most batting teams if someone is bowling at good pace and swinging the ball consistently it provides a really big challenge - we have to get better to get through those periods.
“In the past, over the last couple of series here especially we haven't been able to get through those periods limiting the damage. We have been losing four and five wickets through that period. What we are working on at the moment is to continue to challenge ourselves against the swinging ball. You need to back your game and your natural instincts but shape your game and shape your technique to combat what was thrown about.”
Michael Clarke’s team are looking to get the urn back, learning from previous mistakes, much like Allan Border’s side who overcame a similar situation in 1989. Looking at Watson, it’s amazing how much his bowling has evolved to bring a tough challenge. He went from being youthful and energetic to crafty and dangerous.
“My first few tours I didn't enjoy it because I didn't know how to get the best out of myself as a bowler and that's about your development as a cricketer really - adapting to the conditions that are presented. There's no doubt the Duke ball can really help your swing bowling out here. That's when I finally discovered the better way to bowl here rather than trying to bowl 100 miles an hour, gun-barrel straight.
“I really enjoy that over here, but on the flipside that's a challenge as a batsman, know bowlers do have the best success here by swinging the ball,” he was quoted saying.
Australia are likely to play a lot of youngsters in the opening warm-up match against Leicestershire on Thursday, to help them in selecting a formidable team for the ODI series which starts on the 29th of June.