Australia tour of New Zealand 2009-10 February 24, 2010

Clarke cautious ahead of New Zealand threat

Cricinfo staff

Michael Clarke is wary of New Zealand's bowling attack and aggressive batsmen as he makes his first tour with his new Twenty20 side. Clarke has won his three matches in charge since Ricky Ponting retired and the Australians signed off with an eight-wicket thrashing of West Indies in Sydney on Tuesday.

Shane Bond, the fast bowler, wants to give Australia their biggest test of the summer and Clarke is expecting a tough assignment. "They've got a good attack," Clarke said in Sydney before departing for New Zealand. "They've got some good strikers of the ball, Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum, and they've got a great captain, Dan Vettori, so we have to be at our best."

The World Twenty20 starts at the end of April and Australia have overhauled their team since they were knocked out at the first stage during the 2009 event in England. Clarke and Cameron White are in charge and Clarke is not getting carried away by the team's strong start against Pakistan and West Indies.

"I feel we're a long way from where I'd like us to be, but I certainly believe we're improving, we've got a good squad," Clarke said. The series begins on Friday in Wellington and finishes in Christchurch on Sunday.

"It's really important that we look forward to our first tour as a T20 team and try and continue our success," he said. "They are our last two games leading up to the World Cup, so I think it's really important to continue to build that momentum going into the World Cup."