Australia focused on Twenty20 tournament

Updated: 04 May 2009 09:08 IST

Michael Clarke said his team were focused on next month's Twenty20 World Cup in England, despite the looming challenge of the Ashes tournament in July.

Australia focused on Twenty20 tournament

Abu Dhabi:

Australia's stand-in captain Michael Clarke said on Monday his team were focused on next month's Twenty20 World Cup in England, despite the looming challenge of the Ashes tournament in July.

The Ashes was "something all the players and public look forward to," Clarke said, but the Twenty20 World Cup was one in which "we have not been as successful as would have liked."

Clarke added, "our form in Twenty20 has been okay, but the Twenty20 World Cup is one tournament we haven't won, so we can't take our eyes off that just yet."

Clarke, who led Australia in the absence of regular captain Ricky Ponting, was speaking before returning home later Monday after guiding his team to a 3-2 win over Pakistan in the one-day series that ended Sunday.

Australia and Pakistan will play one more match in the United Arab Emirates -- a one-off Twenty20 match in Dubai Thursday in which Australia will be captained by Brad Haddin.

With batsman Michael Hussey and spearhead Mitchell Johnson -- who were also rested for the series against Pakistan -- returning to the squad next month, Australia would be at full strength for both the Ashes and the Twenty20 tournaments, Clarke said.

"Whatever squad we pick will be very keen to do well but it would be great... to be at full strength at the T20 World Cup, do our best and then wait for the Ashes," he said.

Nevertheless, Clarke acknowledged that the Ashes tournament had always been foremost on the minds of Australia's cricketers and its fans.

"The Ashes (is) something all the players and public look forward to. (England) is a wonderful place to play cricket and England have always been competitive, no matter where you play them," he said.

"My first Ashes was in 2005 and I have some terrible memories (of Australia's defeat in England), so have got to turn those round.

"I have got some good memories of 2007 (of Australia's victory in Australia), so hopefully I can keep those in front of my mind and 2005 at the back."

Clarke was happy Australia have quality bowlers to chose from, for both T20 and the Ashes.

"Dougie (Bollinger) has come up, (Brett) Lee is bowling again so we have lot of good bowlers but unfortunately there are only a certain amount of spots you can pick on an Ashes tour, so hopefully it will be a strong side."

Australia start the Ashes series on July 8 when they face England in Cardiff for the first Test. The Twenty20 tournament starts at Lord's on June 5.

Topics : Cricket Sreesanth
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