A BATTING WITH BIMAL BREAKING REPORT: Michael Clarke wants team to bounce back from recent slump

Clarke is hoping so see a major improvement within his team throughout the series against Pakistan

Australia captain Michael Clarke has called on his team to show more intensity on the field if they are to have any chance of putting their “unacceptable” past behind them.

Before the Australians left for the United Arab Emirates to face Pakistan in a limited overs series, which will consist of three ODIs and three Twenty20 Internationals, Clarke and Australia coach Mickey Arthur told the team that representing the country was no joke and that harder work and higher standards would be required from everyone.

Clarke’s stern words come after Australia were embarrassed by arch-rivals England, who beat them 4-0 in a recent ODI seres, which also saw Australia lose their top spot on the ODI rankings to the English.

With more and more younger talents starting to fill the spots on the ODI roster, Clarke stated that talent alone does not keep a team on top of the rankings.

“The most important thing for Mickey and myself is to continue to build the culture we want, for me the reason I sit where I am today is because of hard work; preparation and hard work are the only two answers for me to be representing Australia, and that’s something that I will continue to push with the young Aussie boys who haven’t played too much cricket around us. There is a difference between first-class cricket and playing for Australia. Yes, you have to be very talented to be playing for your state, and to get selected for Australia, but the amount of cricket you play these days, the amount you travel, there’s a lot of difference. The most important thing is the culture. We want to make sure we’ve got the right culture, which we’ve been working on really hard since Mickey’s come in, and I think we’re certainly getting there…hard work and preparation is something I’ll continue to push,” Clarke said.

Clarke also wants the team to start putting their words into action, after several of the Australian players made promises they failed to keep during the recent ODI series against England.

“The other thing I spoke about on the camp was it’s actually not about what you say, it’s about what we do as a team, we’ve all sat in meetings and heard the coach or the captain have their opinions and say what they felt, but it’s now up to us as individual players and a team to do something about it, to realise we sit fourth in the ODI rankings, third in the Test rankings and ninth in the Twenty20 rankings. Every player knows that’s unacceptable for an Australian team to sit there, but that’s easy to say – it’s now about what we do,” Clarke said.

The Australian captain also noted that being selected to play in an overseas tour should not be treated like a holiday.

“It’s not about being selected and that’s it, go and have a good time. There’s a lot that comes with representing your country, on and off the field and it’s just about making it very clear to all the boys that we all sit on the same line, there’s no-one special in the team, everyone has the same rules, the same guidelines and the same expectations. I’m pretty sure all the players know where we sit now, we know how hard it’s going to be, Darwin was a great indication of how hard we’re going to have to work to get back to being the No. 1 team in all three forms – we’ve set a good standard,” Clarke added.

Australia’s level of cricket has been on a drastic slide since the retirement of senior players like Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne, Justin Langer and Adam Gilchrist.

When asked about what his game plan against Pakistan would be, Clarke stated that spin bowlers would be a key factor throughout the match since the pitches in the United Arab Emirates are spin-friendly.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do to get back to the No. 1 one day team in the world, where we’d all like to be, we came up against a pretty good team in England in conditions they were used to, their confidence was pretty high as well after beating the West Indies. But it’s no different against Pakistan, they know these conditions really well, I think spin’s going to play a huge part in this series, both facing it and bowling it,” Clarke added.

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