When Michael Clarke steps onto the field today with his team when they face England, the one thing he will be concentrating on most for now, will be the 5-ODI Natwest series. He spoke about how he felt about the series in England and what his plans are for next year’s Ashes and he was quoted replying that he wasn’t thinking too far ahead for now and would put everything into the ODI series.
As soon as “Australia vs. England” comes up, it leads straight to all the epic back-and-forth battles these two have had, especially in the Ashes series, but the Aussie captain said that as of now, he only has eyes for the ODI matches with Alastair Cook-led England.
“It's all about the one-day series for me and the Australian team,” he was quoted saying.
“Obviously we've got a few guys who have never played international cricket in the UK so it's a good opportunity for those guys to see the conditions, but our focus is 100% on these one-day matches.”
England and Australia right now have all three top rankings between them, with Australia being the #1 ODI team and England the #1 T20 and Test team in the world (ICC cricket rankings). Australia might have dominated the 50-over matches for a long time now, but Clarke nevertheless is expecting a significant battle against England, who have won a record 6 consecutive series on home soil now. A 5-0 whitewash would see the English surpass the Aussies in the ODI rankings as well.
“They're playing some really good cricket and they've had a lot of success in their own backyard, so we know it's going to be really tough cricket and we're going to have to be at our best to compete with them,” he added.
“They've been very consistent, that's the one thing about the number one team in the world - it doesn't happen overnight; it's about consistency and playing your best cricket for a period of time.
“As we know, they've won their last six series at home so it's important for us to play well and stay at number one. Our goal as an Australian cricket team is to be number one in the world in all three forms.”
Clarke also spoke about England’s strength in depth and how their bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad were on of the main reasons for their recent dominance.
“I think they've obviously shown they've had a lot of success in both Test and one-day cricket. It's no coincidence the attack plays a big part in their results and they know the conditions as well as any team I guess, that's why they've won the last six series here. So I think it's going to be a test for our batters but I think it's a good pop to see where we're at,” he said.
The Australian captain has shown great resilience over the years. His position in the team’s middle order combined with the responsibilities of captaining the team could make this series a testing one, but he said that it was a challenge that he relished. “I've enjoyed captaining Australia that's for sure,” he added. “There's been some challenges so far and I'm sure there's going to be a lot more ahead.
“But as a team I think we're improving, we're getting better every day, we're working hard in training - which is probably the most important thing for me. I love seeing the guys getting out of bed and trying to get better every day and we're doing that, but I still believe there's a long way to go for us to be the team we hope to be,” he concluded.