ICL: Indian Cricket League


Clarke’s eyes on Twenty20 prize

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clarkeAustralia are looking to the future by giving Michael Clarke the captaincy for today’s Twenty20 match against New Zealand, but the future is the furthest thing from Clarke’s mind in the lead-up to the game. Clarke says he is still focussed on keeping his place in the side after he was axed from the Test line-up and only regained his spot when Shane Watson was injured before last year’s Ashes series.

“I don’t want to look too far ahead,” Clarke told the West Australian. “Ricky is our leader and a fantastic one at that. I will just enjoy the challenge and opportunity but I have experienced the other side of getting dropped.

“The reason for that was that I took my eyes off the ball and didn’t focus on what was right in front of me. That is crucial for me now. I will enjoy the challenge of this game but I have to keep learning and improving my own game so that I stay in the team.”

His opposing captain Daniel Vettori did not believe an inexperienced leader would make Australia any easier to beat, however he was hopeful that they would be slightly rusty after playing no international cricket in the past three weeks. Australia have been out of action since they wrapped up a 2-0 Test success against Sri Lanka last month, while New Zealand were playing ODIs in South Africa just over a week ago.

“Normally we are a little bit underdone when we come on tours, but we have come off a very tough tour in South Africa and that has put us in good stead,” Vettori told AAP. “I hope that is an advantage we do have.”

Both Australia and New Zealand were knocked out in semi-finals at the World Twenty20 in South Africa and Vettori said it was clear Australia were starting to take the format more seriously. “[They] understand how important it is going to be,” he said. “You don’t find too many vulnerabilities in Australian sides, so I don’t imagine we will find too many.”

However, one potential weakness Vettori wants to explore is his own power over Andrew Symonds, who was the Man of the Series in Australia’s most recent limited-overs series, against India. Vettori has dismissed Symonds eight times in ODIs, more than any other bowler. “I have bowled to Symonds on numerous occasions and probably had the better of him most of the time,” Vettori said.

Like Vettori, Clarke will have the challenge of deciding when to bowl himself as Australia continued their trend of not including a specialist spinner in their Twenty20 line-up. Brad Hogg was in the World Twenty20 squad but did not play a match and was ignored for today’s game as the selectors instead chose six fast bowlers in their 12-man group.

But Clarke was confident there would be plenty of people he could turn to for advice in the field if required. “The advantage of the Australian team is there is so much class and so much experience, which will make my job that much easier,” he said.

The match begins at 6.05pm local time and is a sellout, with 20,000 spectators expected at the WACA. It is the third Twenty20 international to be held in Australia after the home side easily accounted for South Africa at the Gabba in 2005-06 and England in Sydney last summer.

Source:Cricket News

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 11th, 2007 and is filed under General, Cricket.

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