Australia v England, 1st ODI, Melbourne January 11, 2014

'We want to get back to No.1' - Clarke

30

Become the best in the world in all three forms - that's Australia's goal, as stated by the coach Darren Lehmann earlier this week. In no format are they closer to that aim than one-day cricket. They are No.3 in Tests and South Africa hold an enormous margin at the top; in Twenty20 Australia sit seventh. But it is not out of the question that by the end of this month, Australia might have completed one-third of their goal by reaching No.1 on the ODI rankings.

For that to happen, Australia would need either to beat England at least 4-1 and have New Zealand defeat India in the concurrent series, or complete a 5-0 clean sweep over England and have India win no more than three of their five games in New Zealand. On the other hand, England can jump ahead of Australia into second if they perform strongly in this series.

Australia will need to defy recent history, for each of the past four Ashes campaigns have been followed by a one-day series that has been won by the side that lost the Tests. That is perhaps not surprising; it must be difficult to get motivated for a bilateral one-day series when you've just won the urn.

But only five members of Australia's Ashes-winning XI will take the field in the opening one-day international in Melbourne on Sunday, and while captain Michael Clarke said it could be easy in such circumstances to slide into cruising mode, Australia's aim to be the best in the world should guard against complacency.

"They're two different teams. But for the guys who do play Test cricket, it's quite easy to take your foot off the pedal," Clarke said on Saturday. "I said before the last two Test matches that we as a Test team had a lot to play for because we were ranked fifth at the time and we want to get back to No.1. I say the same about this one-day unit. We know we are not the No.1 team in the world at this stage. That is our goal.

"If you want to be a part of this team, you cannot afford to take your foot off the pedal. We as a team have no complacency where you're sitting there expecting that because the result was five-nil in the Test series that the one-day result will be the same. We know England have a very good one-day team ... we currently sit second in the rankings and only just, England are one point behind us, so we've got to play our best to stay at No.2, let alone get to No.1."

To that end, Australia have decided that while their Test players can benefit from a break after the Ashes, they will not be rested in groups as they were last summer. Mitchell Johnson will miss the first game but will return for the second match in Brisbane, and the selectors will need to consider whether others such as Clarke, Shane Watson and Brad Haddin might also need to sit out to help them recover ahead of the upcoming South African tour.

"I feel good at the moment. That will be decided by the people well and truly above me," Clarke said of potentially having a rest himself. "If they think I should miss a game then I'll have that conversation with Boof [Lehmann] and the selectors. But right now I'm really keen to help this team win this one-day series.

"Winning the Test in three days gave everyone a couple of extra days off which is nice. But I missed the recent one-day series in India. I played in England and enjoyed the one-day series. It's going to be nice to be back out there and playing some one-day stuff."

The near full-strength side has meant there was no room in the squad for Phillip Hughes, a prolific one-day scorer over the past year, and Shaun Marsh has also been left out for the opening match, with David Warner and Aaron Finch to open the batting. The selectors also decided against rushing James Pattinson back in for the first game after his seven wickets in three BBL matches, his first games back since suffering a back injury during the Ashes in July.

"I don't know why they decided to not pick him in the first eleven," Clarke said of the selectors. "That's their call. But I think James certainly is realistic and understands that he's only been back bowling for a couple of weeks in regards to game practice. He's a wonderful talent. Everybody in Australia loves seeing him bowl well. He's looking fit and I'm sure he'll play a big part throughout this series."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • pat_one_back on January 12, 2014, 22:17 GMT

    @Suraj Krishnaswamy, you obviously missed the many many many articles about Eng turning on dry sub-continental style pitches all summer following their resounding success in India. Dhoni scored runs which proves they were dry flat tracks! Let me explain a bit about Aust cricket and what our first ODI 11 looks like, players missing in India, Clarke & MJ, only our captain & leading strike bowler, Warner & Patto, only our leading short form batsmen and first pick opening bowler! In summary India struggled to beat a mid strength Aust team on embarrassingly one sided surfaces at home in batathon's where the modestly able Bailey was the equal of any Indian batsmen and an Aust fast bowler made a hundred it was that damn easy to tap sixes.

  • izzidole on January 12, 2014, 13:00 GMT

    Australia is now back in business having beaten England in the last ODI series 3-2 and having lost to India 3-2 in the absence of captain Clarke due to injury and Mitchell Johnson not available for the finals being rested for the ashes series against England. They have just won the first ODI against the poms without much effort and are very confident about winning 5 nil just like the ashes test series. The cricket series against South Africa next month will be the biggest challenge which could also decide the number one test side in world cricket. Then there is also the T20 World Cup in Bangla Desh to follow in April this year and the 50 over world cup next year which will be other opportunities to be the best. Since Lehmann took over as cricket coach the Australian cricket team has improved in leaps and bounds and is brimming with confidence. No doubt the current team under captain Clarke could easily be the best cricket team in the world once again after a short lapse of 6 years.

  • on January 12, 2014, 6:46 GMT

    What's about India nail down aussie in India 5-0

  • on January 12, 2014, 4:35 GMT

    its all abt adaptation in new conditions. india is superb in flate tracks and can also beat any team if they got some time in overseas. dont forget johhansber test where sa was abt to loose..ausies are playing ipl so well adapted in indian conditions..other wise test team was whitewashed...so ausseis give thanx to ipl...

  • evebathowsai on January 12, 2014, 4:09 GMT

    To all Indian fans who say Australia needs to focus on winning overseas and who says Australias bowling attack is poor and that MJ is a one time wonder. Firstly has any Indian team won overseas other than Bangladesh? Also the upcoming series in New Zealand will be a tough series for India. Look at the NZ bowlers, world class I'd say and your in their back yard, Seaming and Swinging conditions. If NZ can get their batmens to put up a decent total. WATCH OUT!

  • on January 12, 2014, 2:56 GMT

    The last I checked, England was not in the sub continent and India won the Champions Trophy! And AUS team which competed in India wasn't in any way weak. Except Clarke the entire team which is currently facing England was there. So do not hide behind this excuse. India might not be good in tests outside subcontinent, but ODI is a different ball game altogether. India are #1 in ODI and deservedly so....

  • LooksPlumbFromHere on January 12, 2014, 0:58 GMT

    Imagine M Clarke fronting his next press conference: "We are No.2 in ODIs but we took a vote and the guys' favourite number is 5, so we want to become No.5". "No.3 in Tests is awesome. The Saffas are way better than us anyway and India is a pretty good team too, so we'll see if we can be a worthy No.3 in tests." "So we are No.7 in T20, it's better than No.8."

  • pat_one_back on January 12, 2014, 0:55 GMT

    How quickly our Indian friends forget that Aust weakest top 6 batsmen Bailey pummelled them at home, that our opening bowler struck a 50 odd ball hundred, where does this confidence about India's supposed ODI strength come from?????? They could barely win a contest of bat & bat, it's foolish to think they can cope in conditions where Bowling matters too, sorry guys but you are home town heroes who can't compete unless it's a batting paradise and even then only just! 3-2 at home to a weakened Aust on embarrassingly one sided pitches spoken of poorly worldwide is something to be ashamed of not food for boasting!

  • Shaggy076 on January 12, 2014, 0:51 GMT

    I would have thought it was every team's goal so why are people having a crack at Clarke? Also love the irony coming from Indian fans saying we need to win away from home.Well it doesn't seem you have to for being number 2 you just have to reject touring other countries.

  • pat_one_back on January 12, 2014, 0:38 GMT

    @Parth Choksi, truly delusional, Johnson has had his ups and downs everyone knows that but to say he's a one time performer shows only jealousy and wishful thinking.

  • pat_one_back on January 12, 2014, 22:17 GMT

    @Suraj Krishnaswamy, you obviously missed the many many many articles about Eng turning on dry sub-continental style pitches all summer following their resounding success in India. Dhoni scored runs which proves they were dry flat tracks! Let me explain a bit about Aust cricket and what our first ODI 11 looks like, players missing in India, Clarke & MJ, only our captain & leading strike bowler, Warner & Patto, only our leading short form batsmen and first pick opening bowler! In summary India struggled to beat a mid strength Aust team on embarrassingly one sided surfaces at home in batathon's where the modestly able Bailey was the equal of any Indian batsmen and an Aust fast bowler made a hundred it was that damn easy to tap sixes.

  • izzidole on January 12, 2014, 13:00 GMT

    Australia is now back in business having beaten England in the last ODI series 3-2 and having lost to India 3-2 in the absence of captain Clarke due to injury and Mitchell Johnson not available for the finals being rested for the ashes series against England. They have just won the first ODI against the poms without much effort and are very confident about winning 5 nil just like the ashes test series. The cricket series against South Africa next month will be the biggest challenge which could also decide the number one test side in world cricket. Then there is also the T20 World Cup in Bangla Desh to follow in April this year and the 50 over world cup next year which will be other opportunities to be the best. Since Lehmann took over as cricket coach the Australian cricket team has improved in leaps and bounds and is brimming with confidence. No doubt the current team under captain Clarke could easily be the best cricket team in the world once again after a short lapse of 6 years.

  • on January 12, 2014, 6:46 GMT

    What's about India nail down aussie in India 5-0

  • on January 12, 2014, 4:35 GMT

    its all abt adaptation in new conditions. india is superb in flate tracks and can also beat any team if they got some time in overseas. dont forget johhansber test where sa was abt to loose..ausies are playing ipl so well adapted in indian conditions..other wise test team was whitewashed...so ausseis give thanx to ipl...

  • evebathowsai on January 12, 2014, 4:09 GMT

    To all Indian fans who say Australia needs to focus on winning overseas and who says Australias bowling attack is poor and that MJ is a one time wonder. Firstly has any Indian team won overseas other than Bangladesh? Also the upcoming series in New Zealand will be a tough series for India. Look at the NZ bowlers, world class I'd say and your in their back yard, Seaming and Swinging conditions. If NZ can get their batmens to put up a decent total. WATCH OUT!

  • on January 12, 2014, 2:56 GMT

    The last I checked, England was not in the sub continent and India won the Champions Trophy! And AUS team which competed in India wasn't in any way weak. Except Clarke the entire team which is currently facing England was there. So do not hide behind this excuse. India might not be good in tests outside subcontinent, but ODI is a different ball game altogether. India are #1 in ODI and deservedly so....

  • LooksPlumbFromHere on January 12, 2014, 0:58 GMT

    Imagine M Clarke fronting his next press conference: "We are No.2 in ODIs but we took a vote and the guys' favourite number is 5, so we want to become No.5". "No.3 in Tests is awesome. The Saffas are way better than us anyway and India is a pretty good team too, so we'll see if we can be a worthy No.3 in tests." "So we are No.7 in T20, it's better than No.8."

  • pat_one_back on January 12, 2014, 0:55 GMT

    How quickly our Indian friends forget that Aust weakest top 6 batsmen Bailey pummelled them at home, that our opening bowler struck a 50 odd ball hundred, where does this confidence about India's supposed ODI strength come from?????? They could barely win a contest of bat & bat, it's foolish to think they can cope in conditions where Bowling matters too, sorry guys but you are home town heroes who can't compete unless it's a batting paradise and even then only just! 3-2 at home to a weakened Aust on embarrassingly one sided pitches spoken of poorly worldwide is something to be ashamed of not food for boasting!

  • Shaggy076 on January 12, 2014, 0:51 GMT

    I would have thought it was every team's goal so why are people having a crack at Clarke? Also love the irony coming from Indian fans saying we need to win away from home.Well it doesn't seem you have to for being number 2 you just have to reject touring other countries.

  • pat_one_back on January 12, 2014, 0:38 GMT

    @Parth Choksi, truly delusional, Johnson has had his ups and downs everyone knows that but to say he's a one time performer shows only jealousy and wishful thinking.

  • pat_one_back on January 12, 2014, 0:30 GMT

    @Suresh Chittybabu, if anyone's dreaming it's you, Aust performed remarkably well in India where it may as well have been bowling machines used the pitches were so batter friendly, bowling is a huge Aust strength and India nullified it with absolute roads yet we still only lost 3-2. In an even contest between bat and ball in NZ India will be very susceptible to defeat. Note Aust also performed very well away in Eng. T20 will be the tricky one as these are treated as exhibition games here in Aust or made up of the touring ODI team not specialists, they're basically not taken seriously outside major tournament preparation. Anyway dream on, only SA stand in Aust way now.

  • inthebag on January 12, 2014, 0:14 GMT

    I agree the side looks weaker without a genuine quick in there, maybe the pitch is a bit slow, maybe they don't rate the poms, fair enough. As for no 1 in all three forms, the SA series will go a long way to deciding that, 20/20 is a lottery and anyone can luck out on the day.

  • deeplongon on January 11, 2014, 22:49 GMT

    I love the way all the sub continent commentators conveniently forget that Australia thrashed India here not that long ago.

  • mzm149 on January 11, 2014, 20:12 GMT

    Australia remained at number 1 position in ODIs for good 10 years or so. They have the potential to reach there again. India's most of tours this year are away from home. They will definitely lose ranking because they won't get flat tracks like home.

    Removing South Africa from number 1 position in test matches is way too difficult at least for coming one year. Australia is second best test side in the world and they should be ranked number 2.

    India's high ranking is due to the fact that they play mostly at home on extremely docile pitches and cut down those series where they have fear of losing like recently concluded series in South Africa.

  • Albert_cambell on January 11, 2014, 19:37 GMT

    I dont know whether Aussies can Whitewash Poms or not, but Kiwis Whitewashing India is more than likely to happen. This Current Indian batsman cant withstand in front of quality fast bowling in Seaming conditions.It will be a nightmare for them against the likes of Mclnenehegan, Southee, Boult, Bracewell..etc.

  • PrasPunter on January 11, 2014, 18:24 GMT

    @Suresh ChittyBabu, if you are talking about ODIs, your so-called greatest team on earth has lost the most recent ones in Aus, Eng and SA by huge margins. And Aus beat SA 2-1 last time when we were there, lost in india in a very closely contested one and beat Eng 2-1 early this year. How about this for a record ?? And what's great about winning in NZ when even a team like WI has just levelled the ODI series over there ?

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on January 11, 2014, 18:03 GMT

    Very much possible for Aus to be 1 in all 3 forms.Not because they are suddenly 'great' like previous Aus-no 1 is-but all teams like Ind,Eng and even SA are more close to ordinary than great,inconsistant in all forms.Any of top 4 sides can dream of no.1.

  • on January 11, 2014, 16:44 GMT

    Sorry Pup, but I can wish you all the very best for your dream. NZ is not enough team to beat India in such big margin. Come out from Australia and start perform, then you can dream what ever you want.

  • on January 11, 2014, 14:26 GMT

    Not even close to possible anybody can win whutewash teams at home. He needs to remember ashes in england and the 4-0 whitewash they got in india. Johnson's a one time performer, he will start deteriorating very soon. It is not very long untill he gets kicked out of the team.

  • on January 11, 2014, 12:52 GMT

    quite well wishful thinking for ausi captain but difficult to achieve in near future.coming 1 st from 7th position in t20s and 1st from 3 to1 for odi ranking need lot of extra ordinary performance by them as well as low grade performance by the teams above them. any way time only will decide on this.so let us wait and watch the games in near future.

  • AidanFX on January 11, 2014, 12:42 GMT

    Well it would help if you had of selected a genuine quick in Pattinson. Especially since Johnson is being rested. I was hoping the over cautious approach with the young fast bowlers and rotation policies would end under Lehman. The team on the park is the dullest bowling unit you could imagine. No wonder people ate staying home. There is a WC coming, also a Test series against best team in the world and they produce this experimental team fit for 20/20. This is frustrating.

  • AidanFX on January 11, 2014, 12:30 GMT

    Well it would help if you had of selected a genuine quick in Pattinson. Especially since Johnson is being rested. I was hoping the over cautious approach with the young fast bowlers and rotation policies would end under Lehman. The team on the park is the dullest bowling unit you could imagine. No wonder people ate staying home. There is a WC coming, also a Test series against best team in the world and they produce this experimental team fit for 20/20. This is frustrating.

  • dunger.bob on January 11, 2014, 12:26 GMT

    All I can say is if you don't want to get to number one, numero uno, first cab in the rank etc etc, you probably shouldn't be playing the game.

    The MeanCaptain is dead right, it is good to have a dream. For most it remains a dream but every now and then it all comes together and dreams can come true.

    I'm probably dreaming here, but seriously, Australian cricket suddenly feels energised with wave after wave of good players across all formats. Even in T20 we seem to be working out our own way of playing it and the future looks good in all 3. .. We probably won't hold all 3 belts at the same time in my lifetime, but I think you can at least bank on us never giving up on the dream.

  • hkiran1 on January 11, 2014, 8:01 GMT

    Till the day Dhoni holds fort for India down the order, in ODI's it seems a like a fantasy of Clarke. But a real good one.

  • gsingh7 on January 11, 2014, 7:11 GMT

    not going to happen . india will win series in nz and its highly unlikely england will lose 5-0 as new players in morgan and bopara are good enough to win few odis by themselves.dream on , clarke.

  • Talalthegreat on January 11, 2014, 6:48 GMT

    It's not that difficult @Cpt.Meanster Actually oz is no2 in ODIs and their team is pretty strong in this format. T20Is is different. In real the top7 in T20Is are all equal sides. In test it will take very long as SAF are probably gonna rule for at least another 4 years

  • Hariskls on January 11, 2014, 6:44 GMT

    It seems very unlikely.. In tests, it seems impossible for now, t20- they need to play allot and one day- i dont see a chance bcz NZ dont have a team which can defeat India with such a huge margin...and it wont be easy for Aussies either to defeat England with that margin... But its cricket u know... If u see Aussies at the top..don't get surprised...because strange are the ways of the Lord....

  • Cpt.Meanster on January 11, 2014, 6:19 GMT

    I appreciate Clarke's wish. But, it won't be easy with this team of his who are inconsistent in every format. Australia could get to no.2 at best in tests. But in ODIs and T20s, they are still an average team. But then again, there is nothing wrong in dreaming. So keep dreaming Pup.

  • xylo on January 11, 2014, 6:11 GMT

    If Australia had a chance at #1 in ODIs, they need Clarke to sit out and Bailey to lead the side.

  • on January 11, 2014, 4:11 GMT

    Difficult to achieve at this stage

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on January 11, 2014, 4:11 GMT

    Difficult to achieve at this stage

  • xylo on January 11, 2014, 6:11 GMT

    If Australia had a chance at #1 in ODIs, they need Clarke to sit out and Bailey to lead the side.

  • Cpt.Meanster on January 11, 2014, 6:19 GMT

    I appreciate Clarke's wish. But, it won't be easy with this team of his who are inconsistent in every format. Australia could get to no.2 at best in tests. But in ODIs and T20s, they are still an average team. But then again, there is nothing wrong in dreaming. So keep dreaming Pup.

  • Hariskls on January 11, 2014, 6:44 GMT

    It seems very unlikely.. In tests, it seems impossible for now, t20- they need to play allot and one day- i dont see a chance bcz NZ dont have a team which can defeat India with such a huge margin...and it wont be easy for Aussies either to defeat England with that margin... But its cricket u know... If u see Aussies at the top..don't get surprised...because strange are the ways of the Lord....

  • Talalthegreat on January 11, 2014, 6:48 GMT

    It's not that difficult @Cpt.Meanster Actually oz is no2 in ODIs and their team is pretty strong in this format. T20Is is different. In real the top7 in T20Is are all equal sides. In test it will take very long as SAF are probably gonna rule for at least another 4 years

  • gsingh7 on January 11, 2014, 7:11 GMT

    not going to happen . india will win series in nz and its highly unlikely england will lose 5-0 as new players in morgan and bopara are good enough to win few odis by themselves.dream on , clarke.

  • hkiran1 on January 11, 2014, 8:01 GMT

    Till the day Dhoni holds fort for India down the order, in ODI's it seems a like a fantasy of Clarke. But a real good one.

  • dunger.bob on January 11, 2014, 12:26 GMT

    All I can say is if you don't want to get to number one, numero uno, first cab in the rank etc etc, you probably shouldn't be playing the game.

    The MeanCaptain is dead right, it is good to have a dream. For most it remains a dream but every now and then it all comes together and dreams can come true.

    I'm probably dreaming here, but seriously, Australian cricket suddenly feels energised with wave after wave of good players across all formats. Even in T20 we seem to be working out our own way of playing it and the future looks good in all 3. .. We probably won't hold all 3 belts at the same time in my lifetime, but I think you can at least bank on us never giving up on the dream.

  • AidanFX on January 11, 2014, 12:30 GMT

    Well it would help if you had of selected a genuine quick in Pattinson. Especially since Johnson is being rested. I was hoping the over cautious approach with the young fast bowlers and rotation policies would end under Lehman. The team on the park is the dullest bowling unit you could imagine. No wonder people ate staying home. There is a WC coming, also a Test series against best team in the world and they produce this experimental team fit for 20/20. This is frustrating.

  • AidanFX on January 11, 2014, 12:42 GMT

    Well it would help if you had of selected a genuine quick in Pattinson. Especially since Johnson is being rested. I was hoping the over cautious approach with the young fast bowlers and rotation policies would end under Lehman. The team on the park is the dullest bowling unit you could imagine. No wonder people ate staying home. There is a WC coming, also a Test series against best team in the world and they produce this experimental team fit for 20/20. This is frustrating.