Oz 'ready' to beat England

2013-05-22 09:03
Michael Clarke (Getty)

Sydney - Captain Michael Clarke and his deputy Brad Haddin Wednesday insisted Australia's disastrous series in India was history with the team fired up to win back the Ashes from England.

Australia play five Tests against their arch-rivals starting in Nottingham on July 10, and several of the team are leaving this weekend ahead of the June 6-23 Champions Trophy in England.

At a farewell event in Sydney, Clarke said the side's excitement was palpable.

"We have probably the most exciting 12 months of our careers ahead of us," he said, referring to back-to-back Ashes campaigns with Australia hosting England during the 2013/2014 southern hemisphere summer.

"We have been working extremely hard. We know that we go to England and we will be up against very good opposition. At this stage, they are certainly the favourites, but we look forward to that challenge.

"There is not one cricket game where I've walked out onto the field with the Australian team and not expected to win, and this series will be no different," Clarke added.

To prepare, the team have spent the past four weeks at Cricket Australia's Centre of Excellence in Brisbane and Clarke said winning the Ashes would not be about individual performances, but a team effort.

"There's a lot of talk about our fast bowlers and we have plenty of talent," he said.

"But I think it will come down to the batters making runs, the spin department doing their role and our fast bowlers maximising conditions.

"Without doubt the Ashes tour is the most special, but it does take a whole squad of 16 players to have success."

With Shane Watson standing down from his vice-captain role after his controversial axing on disciplinary grounds in India, the experienced Haddin has been recalled to add stability.

Selectors hope his presence will help bring some authority to a side dogged by in-fighting and poor discipline in India, where the team was thrashed 4-0.

The veteran wicketkeeper, who has played only one Test since January 2012, said the team had moved on and morale was good.

"The way we are going to win this campaign is to come together as a group of 16, keep challenging ourselves to become better cricketers, move forward and be accountable for our actions," he said.

"It is not hard at all to motivate a team coming into an Ashes campaign," he added when asked how the team could lift itself after the India series in March.

"This is the ultimate for us to be involved in. If you're not motivated for this and you're not ready you're never going to be.

"From that point of view we are in a pretty good space as a team. India has gone and it's now all about getting that urn back."

Read more on:    australia  |  michael clarke  |  cricket

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