Clarke tips Aussies for greatness
Michael Clarke believes the current Australia team has the potential to become one of the finest sides the country has produced.
Australia are favourites to retain the Ashes heading into this week’s crucial final Test having squared the series at 1-1 with a comprehensive win over the hosts at Headingley Carnegie.
At the start of the summer many had doubted whether Australia, without the likes of retired greats such as Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Matthew Hayden, would be able to beat a determined England side on home soil.
The innings-and-80-run win over England in Leeds, however, has given the Clarke the belief that Australia will retain the Ashes with a win at the Brit Oval this week, and go on to greater things afterwards.
“As an Australian team, there’s a lot less experience in our team than in 2005, but the one thing this side has shown over the last 12 months is that we do have the class, the enthusiasm, the desire to be as successful as any team that I’ve played in,” he said.
“Yes, we probably don’t have the greats, at this stage of the guys’ careers like we did in ‘05, but we’ve got everything else that comes from inside you that these players have.
“Over a period of time you’ll see a lot of the guys in this side become very good cricketers, if not great cricketers.”
The series finale promises to be a nail-biting encounter with both teams vowing to go all out for victory in front of a sell-out crowd at the ground where England wrapped up their series win in 2005.
Clarke admits he cannot wait until the start of play and believes this series has been among the most exciting of his five-year Test career.
“This series has been fantastic,” said Clarke, who will earn his 52nd cap this week. “It has been amazing for the game of cricket and there has been a lot of support from back home and around the world.”
Clarke has further cemented his place in the tourists’ line-up this summer by hitting two centuries on his way to becoming Australia’s top run-scorer on the tour.
He is keen to continue such form and believes the series has made him a better player.
“I think I’m improving as a player,” Clarke added.
“There are certain things that need to improve. I feel my shot selection is the one thing when I think back over the last three of four years that has improved in my game.
“I see areas I can continue working on and continue to be better.”