Cricket

Clarke eyes ICC trophy boost

2013-05-29 21:02
Michael Clarke (File)
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2013-05-29 13:37

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Cardiff - Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke said on Wednesday should his side successfully defend their Champions Trophy one day title it would give them a huge boost ahead of taking England on in the Ashes series which follows.

The 32-year-old is seeking a pick me up ahead of the Ashes next month after a humiliating 4-0 test series loss to India which was also marked by serious splits in the squad which resulted in disciplinary action being taken against several players.

Clarke - who is bidding to regain the Ashes after two successive losses - says all his energies and his team's will be focussed on retaining the one day title they won in South Africa four years ago.

The tournament runs from June 6-23 in England and Wales while the five-Test Ashes series is in July-August.

"I don't think we as a team are focused on the Ashes at all at this stage," said Clarke, who is leading a largely inexperienced test side.

"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."

Clarke also played down any fears England would be better prepared for the Ashes, thanks to beating an outclassed New Zealand side 2-0 in a home test series which came to a climax on Tuesday.

"I think if we win the Champions Trophy it'll be more than enough (experience of English conditions)," said Clarke.

"That's the best preparation possible. Like I say, my focus is having success in this tournament right now. I'm not too concerned about the Ashes right now."

Clarke said that he was no longer dwelling on the India debacle.

"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.

"You know, it's going to be a tough tournament, there's no doubt about it. 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."

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