Champions Trophy 2013 May 27, 2013

Australia 'focused on Champions Trophy'

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Michael Clarke will return home from England in September either gutted at an Ashes defeat or exultant at a triumph. But Clarke flew out of Sydney on Sunday night conscious that Australia's near four-month tour begins not with the main attraction but with a curtain-raiser that has as its reward another prize: the Champions Trophy. And while it is not in the same league as the Ashes in terms of prestige, Clarke believes a strong start to the trip is important to Australia's Test chances.

Australia's one-day and Test squad members will arrive in England from various ports of call - some have been at home, some at the IPL, some in county cricket and coach Mickey Arthur has been in South Africa. Some have been playing cricket, some have been training at home. Seven members of the Champions Trophy group will also take part in the Ashes, and Clarke hopes the tour begins on a high, especially when Australia meet England in a group match at Edgbaston on June 8.

"I'm looking forward to certainly getting stuck into some cricket," Clarke told reporters in Sydney on Sunday night. "It's been a good break for guys to train, get fit, get some batting and bowling under their belts, but I think everyone, the players, media, the public, are well and truly looking forward to seeing some cricket. Obviously the build-up and the talk is going to be about the Ashes, but for us as a team we're very focused on the Champions Trophy.

"Our record is outstanding in the Champions Trophy, we've won the last couple. This is the last time we'll have a Champions Trophy tournament so the motivation is going to be there. If we can have success in this one-day tournament and drag that confidence and momentum into the first Test I think that will be very handy."

Australia begin with two Champions Trophy warm-up matches against West Indies and India in Cardiff on Saturday and Tuesday next week, before they move on to the tournament proper and group clashes with England, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. Should they make it to the final, they will have only a few days before their first Ashes warm-up, a four-day fixture against Somerset beginning on June 26.

Another tour match against Worcestershire follows in the lead-up to the first Test and those two games will be important for Australia to assess their best XI and particularly their batting line-up, given the struggles of the batsmen in India and the presence of five potential openers in the Ashes party. Clarke said Australia would take their challenges as they came, first with the one-day tournament and then with the Ashes.

"We know we've got a lot of work to do to have success in both sections of this tour, in regards to the Champions Trophy and then the Ashes," he said. "We've got to play some amazing cricket, but I know all the players are up for the challenge.''

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • popcorn on June 2, 2013, 1:57 GMT

    This Australian Squad has a balance whichis capable of winnng The Champions Trophy AND The Ashes. Warner and Hughes are flashy,One Day and T20 players so they should be in the Champions Trophy side ONLY. I would have liked George Bailey in the Test Side because he is a senior pro, has good Test match Technique unlike Hughes and Warner. Khawaja is a Test Player, not a One Dayer.So if the Aussie Think Tank is shrewd they will drop Hughes and Warner from the Test side,take Usman Khawaja at no.3 in the Test Side,Cowan and Rogers to open,Watson at 4,Clarke at 5, Haddin at 6, Wade at 7.

  • dummy4fb on June 1, 2013, 2:43 GMT

    my team for icc champions trophy of australia must comprises of 1.warner.2. hughes 3.watson 4.clarke 5.baiely 6.wade7.clint mackay 8.faulkner9.mitchelljohnson 10.marsh 11.doherthy

  • ADARSH100 on May 31, 2013, 9:24 GMT

    Aussies is in the period of transition and is filled with new players. It maynot perform well this time bt it may perform well in WC 2015. Bowling lineup is the weakest compared to all the teams.

    my 11 would be 1) Warner 2) Watson 3) Clarke 4) Bailey 5) Wade 6) Maxwell 7) Johnson 8) Mithchell Marsh 9) Faulkner 10)Starc 11)Doherty.

  • Crazy.Frog on May 31, 2013, 8:40 GMT

    @AKS286 What makes you stunned on my comments. I gave answer to Meety & late_sense04 on their meaningless comment, about what meety said THE FACTS in your comments. I show him the fact.

  • Crazy.Frog on May 31, 2013, 8:10 GMT

    @late_sense 04- First read the whole comment then wait for your late sense. what I was wrote "etc are selected on the basis of T20 and they have also the passport of test on the basis of T20 or ODI." W.Jaffer is not selected in the test team he has great record but raina, kohli, yuvi, were selected. S.Ramesh, Badrinath, SS Das, Kambli, Yuosuf Pathan are not selected in test team. why??? they are better players but on the basis of T20 & ODI raina, kohli, sehwag (He proved himself), yuvi,were selected.

  • AKS286 on May 30, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    OMG what happens here who is Crazy.Frog? I'm stunned with his/her comments. And Latecut_04 I'm not an Indian but I really like the comments of crazy.Frog specially about @Meety what he said to me about fact comments.

  • latecut_04 on May 30, 2013, 7:46 GMT

    Crazy.Frog on (May 30, 2013, 6:14 GMT) --We surely differ in our opinion/view point but thats itTheres nothing more to it..Hope this is clear.Regarding the long 'list'of players you have cited as selected bassed on T20:"MSD"-T20 was not even existant when he got ODI call against Pakistan in 2005."Warner"-Yes,he got test call based on T20 and the jury is still out regardng whether he should be long term Aus opener in tests."KP"-Really i dont need to answer and remind about Ashes2k5,do i?"Bresnan, Morgan, Bravo, Pollard, Sunil Naraine, Samuels, Sammy, Raina, Kohli"---Likes of Raina,Kohli got calls bsaed on U19/ domestic performance.Same applies to Bresnan,Morgan,Samules and the like.The point to be noted is those who have made it big in int'l cricket were selected on the basis of domestic record and those who were chosen based on T20(very few)have either flopped or are still suspects.

  • latecut_04 on May 30, 2013, 6:37 GMT

    @Crazy.Frog(May 30, 2013, 6:00 GMT) -I assume you are @Aks286.Thanks for your response and clarification but again i may have to disagree with a few of your observations.Punter axed by Clarke?well when he quit everyone thought it was the right decision(many thought it was long overdue..)He only made tons against visiting Indian pop gun attack in 2011 which extended his career and ultimately proved detrimental to Aus cricket Vs sides like SA.Regarding Katich yes even i was disappinted about his non inclusion especially considering the likes of Warner made his debut via that route.But blaming it entirely on Clarke may be a bit too much.MJ is not fit to be selected for away tours (tests)for many reasons.Haddin is back in the squad.when he played in 2k10-11 Ashes many wanted him to retire but his replacements proved 'just not good enough' w.r.t exp and temparament and IF Clarke didn't want him in the side I think Haddin would have been left out of the touring party...any thoughts

  • Crazy.Frog on May 30, 2013, 6:14 GMT

    @ latecut_04 now a days 20-20 is quite similar to 50-50. As you said "T20 performance does not really matter because in ODI a spinner is expected to bowl 10 full overs and take wickets" So Fella let me tell you Warner, Bollinger, Starc, Voges, Faulkner, Dan Christian, Moises, Maxwell, Wade, Bailey, Marsh brothers, Smith,Coulter Nile, AD Hales, Lumb, KP, dernbach, Tredwell, Bresnan, Morgan, Bravo, Pollard, Sunil Naraine, Samuels, Sammy, Raina, Kohli, MSD, Ashwin, Rohit, Jadeja, Thisara, Senanayke, Mendis, Miller, FaF, Mclaren, Albie, De cock, etc are selected on the basis of T20 and they have also the passport of test on the basis of T20 or ODI.

  • Crazy.Frog on May 30, 2013, 6:00 GMT

    @Meety now I will correct my non fact comment.- Aus won the previous Ashes & WC, SA lost to Aus & Aus whitewashed India. Katich, Punter,Hussey, Haddin, MJ are not axed by Clarke, Aus is No.1 team in ODI & Test and Beer was the worst spinner in BBL. @ latecut_04 on (May 30, 2013, 5:38 GMT) I'm not Indian fella.

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