SYDNEY - Michael Clarke, the Australian skipper vows for an improved showing in the forthcoming series against Pakistan in United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The Kangaroos, who ruled the cricketing world for almost two decades, have been going through a slump since the last five years, failing to defend the ICC Cricket World Cup for the third time in a row last year.
Clarke’s men were outplayed in the five-match ODI series against the Poms last month, with the home team looking a far superior unit in all departments of the game. The 31-year-old however, is optimistic about his side’s future and claims that the Kangaroos have learnt from their mistakes.
“We know there’s areas we need to improve,” the Australian skipper expressed. “They’ve been addressed and we’ll look to improve them.” The Baggy Greens are all set to play three ODIs and as many T20 Internationals in the Middle-East against Pakistan, with the series starting on August 28, at Sharjah.
The weather in UAE is likely to test the Australian players’ fitness, prompting Cricket Australia (CA) to organize a preparatory camp at Darwin, which happens to be amongst the hottest places in the country. The middle-order batsman expressed that his side’s long-term goal to regain the top ranking in all formats of the game and the scheduled training sessions at Darwin show CA’s intent.
“Our goals haven’t changed in regards to being number one in all three forms of the game and I guess Darwin’s a good example in that we’re going up there to prepare for the bi-series against Pakistan,” Clarke added. “It’s going to be hot over in Dubai and the conditions in Darwin are as hot as we can possibly get for preparation.”
The limited-overs series in UAE will be followed by the ICC World T20 2012, which will be played in Sri Lanka in September/October.
The Kangaroos will be looking for an improved performance in the shortest format of the game, in which they have not done that well over the years.
Meanwhile, Australia Test captain Michael Clarke wants to have the country’s vacant bowling coach position filled before the start of the summer. Cricket Australia (CA) is yet to fill the position following Craig McDermott’s decision to leave the role in May despite interest from several candidates.
Waqar Younis was among those to put their hand up, but the former Pakistan quick announced last week he had been interviewed unsuccessfully by CA. Clarke says he has little input into the selection but wants someone in place well before this summer’s visits by South Africa and Sri Lanka.
‘‘I don’t have any say as to who gets that job but I’m certainly communicating with the guys to work out where they’re at,’’ Clarke told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday.
‘‘Hopefully by the Australian summer we’ll have a full-time bowling coach that can get on board and help the bowlers out.
‘‘It’s an important role and I know Pat Howard and Cricket Australia are doing all they can to make sure they get the right person.’’
Australia’s bowling stocks took another blow with Ben Cutting forced home from the current A-tour of England due to a back injury.
The Queenslander joins Test young guns James Pattinson (abdominal strain) and Pat Cummins (side strain) on the sidelines while Shane Watson (calf) and Peter Siddle (back) are also injured.
Clarke says he isn’t concerned about the number of injuries however and feels it’s just a consequence of a tough period for Australia’s cricketers.
‘‘You’d love everybody to be fit all day every day but that’s the way the game goes,’’ Clarke said.
‘‘When you’re playing a lot of cricket, you’re doing a lot of hard work.
‘‘Guys are going to get injured, especially when you’re young and your body is not accustomed to the amount of bowling you’ve got to do to play at the highest level.’