Stung by his team’s fall to fourth in the one-day international cricket rankings, Michael Clarke wants the climb back to No.1 to begin in the upcoming matches against Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Clarke and the Australian team departed Australia on Tuesday bound for the United Arab Emirates, where they will play a single ODI against Afghanistan as well as three one-dayers and three Twenty20s against Pakistan.
Still obviously smarting from his team’s 4-0 humbling by England in their last one-day series, Clarke has challenged his charges to show just what they’re made of in the Middle East.
“I think it’s a good opportunity for us to get some of that consistency back in the one-day format,” Clarke said.
“We didn’t play anywhere near as well as we would have liked in England … we certainly didn’t get the result we were after so I think it’s a good opportunity to turn that around.”
Earlier this month Australia lost top spot on the International Cricket Council’s ODI rankings for the first time in nearly three years.
Going into this series Australia sit behind England, South Africa and India while things are even worse on the T20 ladder, with Australia ninth, below New Zealand and minnows Bangladesh.
“It’s not about what you say now, it’s about what you do as a team,” Clarke said.
“It’s up to us as individuals to do something about it. To realise we sit fourth on the one-day rankings, we sit third in the Test rankings and we sit ninth in the Twenty20 rankings.
“Every player knows that’s unacceptable for an Australian team.”
Clarke will be joined on the ODI portion of the tour by assistant coach Steve Rixon, while head coach Mickey Arthur continues preparations for the upcoming World T20 in Sri Lanka.
The South African will join the team in time for the T20s against Pakistan in the UAE and although Clarke is no longer a member of that team, he’s confident the side can lift the one major piece of silverware that has eluded Australia.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how the boys go, I know they’re excited about it,” he said.
“A lot of the guys that played in the last one realise how close we got and unfortunately couldn’t get over the line there. It’s exciting times for that team and I know George (Bailey, captain) will do a fantastic job.”
ODIs: David Warner, Matthew Wade, Michael Clarke (capt), George Bailey, Callum Ferguson, Michael Hussey, David Hussey, Daniel Christian, Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Johnson, Xavier Doherty, James Pattinson, Alister McDermott, Mitchell Starc.
T20s: David Warner, Shane Watson, Matthew Wade, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, George Bailey (capt), Cameron White, Daniel Christian, Glenn Maxwell, Brad Hogg, Xavier Doherty, Clint McKay, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Ben Hilfenhaus.