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Clarke cool over warm-up losses

ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

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Michael Clarke

Michael Clarke, pictured during his innings of 73 against South Africa yesterday, is not concerned by Australia's warm-up defeats

Australia vice-captain Michael Clarke insists his side are not worried about losing both of their World Cup warm-up matches.

The defending world champions were on the end of a seven-wicket drubbing from South Africa on Tuesday, just two days after being beaten in another warm-up game against India.

On both occasions, the Australia batting line-up collapsed spectacularly, but Clarke says the players are not reading too much into the results.

“Obviously the result did not go the way we would have liked but again we all understand that they are practice games,” Clarke said. “It's more about giving boys an opportunity than about winning.

“A practice game is a practice game. So it's important to maximize the chance to give everybody the opportunity to bat and bowl, and more importantly, to get used to the conditions.

“We play Zimbabwe in a week's time. Everybody had a bit of a run around and seen the conditions.

“So it's about preparing well for the next six days to be in right shape before the game against Zimbabwe.”

Australia have struggled to deal with the spin attacks of both India and South Africa, and Clarke was again forced to defend his side's efforts against the slow bowlers.

“Spinners are probably going to play a big part in the tournament. All the players have their plans against spin bowling and we have good players of spin bowling,” he added. “But there are obviously areas we need to improve.”

Despite the magnitude of South Africa's victory, Proteas opener Hashim Amla agreed with Clarke that the result meant little in the grand scheme of things.

"It is a warm-up game, you don't play 15 (players) all the time, Amla said.

“They are a very good team and certainly beating them gives a lot of confidence but, as I said, it's a warm-up game.”

“The wicket had a bit more on it for the seamers up front and turned a bit later but not as much as we were expecting.

“Certainly we bowled and batted with good intensity but we are not looking too deep into it to be honest.”

“Australia are a very good team. They are just coming off from a series win against England.

"As I said, both teams were experimenting and trying to find the right combination. Once the competition starts you will see everybody giving their 100%.”

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