Michael Clarke wants Australian players to focus
Michael Clarke has told his Australia side to forget about the Ashes if they want to have a chance of winning the famous urn back.
The skipper was speaking ahead of the Aussies’ five-match ODI series against England, which starts on June 29 at Lord’s. Half the touring team have never played in England with the shortened format face-off being viewed as a teaser for next year’s Ashes battle.
But Clarke has told the team to focus on the task ahead and forget the Test tussle, which is still over 12 months away.
“It’s important for us as a group to not get too carried away with the Ashes,” ‘Pup’ said. “The reality is, if we don’t perform as a team now, you don’t even worry about the Ashes because you’re not on that trip.
“It’s so far away for us that as a team we haven’t spoken about it.
“Yes, it is the pinnacle as a Test cricketer. It’s in the back of your mind, but we’ve got a lot of cricket in front of us where we’re going to have to perform individually and as a team, before we even worry about the Ashes.”
However, such is the expectation and the interest the Ashes causes that it may well be hard for the players, and fans, to follow Clarke’s order.
Pat Cummins, James Pattinson and David Warner have all done their bit over the past 12 months to lift their national side from the despair and despondency of the 3-1 defeat to England Down Under 18 months ago.
Australia open their tour with a 50-over clash against Leicestershire tomorrow and coach Mickey Arthur
is open to the idea of playing young pace aces Cummins and Pattinson together in the national team for the first time.
The quicks have helped re-energise the team with only injuries stopping them from not playing at the same time.
“I think there might be an opportunity down the line,” Arthur said.
“We have a good stock of fast bowlers and there are places up for grabs. These three warm-up games are going to determine who plays.
“There is a lot to play for, certainly in the fast bowling department.”