Browse News

News by Competition News by Topics News by County Teams News by International Teams

Join TwelfthMan now!

Ashes are not a distraction - Clarke

Michael Clarke insists Australia are fully focused on the ICC Champions Trophy despite another eagerly-awaited Ashes series being just over a month away.

Skipper Clarke and his team are in Cardiff ahead of the defence of the trophy they won in South Africa in 2009.

It also marks the start of their tour of the United Kingdom, the centrepiece of which will be their attempt to regain the urn following two successive Ashes victories for England.

Clarke and Australia will get a chance to score what could be seen as a handy psychological blow when they meet England in their Group A opener at Edgbaston on June 8.

Yet the 32-year-old insists he and his team-mates are fully focused on winning the Champions Trophy, with the Ashes firmly at the back of their minds.

"It's a very important game because it's the first game of this tournament for us. But I don't think we as a team are focused on the Ashes at all at this stage,” he said.

"No doubt there's a lot of build-up in regards to media and the public back home. I'm sure it's the same here in England.

“I certainly have no problems in speaking about it and hearing about the Ashes because it's a fantastic series that every Australian cricketer looks forward to. But, in regards to this tournament, as a team I don't think we are focused on stamping our mark against England.

"We might be focused on stamping our mark against England for the rest of this tournament, but that's got nothing to do with the Ashes."

Australia arrive in Britain just a couple of months on from a nightmare tour of India.

The Test series was lost 4-0, while Shane Watson, Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Johnson and James Pattinson sat out the third Test in Mohali after failing to provide coach Mickey Arthur with a requested report on the team's struggles during the series.

Watson then completed a remarkable turnaround by standing in for the injured Clarke for the fourth and final Test.

"I certainly don't want to look back (at the tour)," said Clarke.

"I think I've had enough time over the past eight weeks to look back. It's about looking forward. We're here for a completely different tour, obviously a one-day tournament as opposed to Test matches that we just played in India. This group is very focused on what's in front of us.

"We know how tough the Champions Trophy tournament is and how tough international one-day cricket is around the world these days with teams being so close together. We know we're going to have to be at our best and at this stage we're certainly very focused on making sure we're as prepared as we can be for that first game."

iPad and mobile apps

Get live scores, news, videos with ECB Cricket Live for iPad and ECB Cricket app for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Nokia

Follow us on Twitter

Stay up to date and fully informed wherever you are by following ECB_cricket on Twitter

Watch county highlights

Watch highlights from NatWest T20 Blast, LV= County Championship, Royal London One-Day Cup action on ecb.co.uk