Zimbabwe loss a 'kick up the backside' - Clarke
Michael Clarke, the Australian captain, has said his team's loss in the warm-up game against Zimbabwe was a "kick up the backside" and served as a reminder that all teams were equal in the Twenty20 format. Clarke also said Australia "got a lot out of that game" and had a better idea of what their first XI was going to be, ahead of their ICC World Twenty20 opener against Pakistan in St Lucia on Sunday.
One of the questions facing Australia regarding team composition is whether to play offspinner Nathan Hauritz, or use allrounders such as David Hussey and Steven Smith as their slow bowlers. Clarke said it could depend on whether they wanted an extra allrounder in Daniel Christian. "I've seen Haury [Hauritz] bowl really well. I've seen how well he's bowled in one-day cricket, and how well he's performed in Twenty20 cricket," he said. "If conditions suit that extra spin option, he could definitely play a big part. He's also handy in the field and can smack it a bit with the bat.
"If we want that extra allrounder he [Christian] will definitely play a part. It's going to be hard. Playing Pakistan, we need to have a look at how they play spin bowling, which they face a lot of. Also having David Hussey in the team, who can bowl some offspin, probably makes it harder for Haury."
Australia have seen a lot of Pakistan recently and had beaten them in three Tests, five ODIs and a Twenty20 during the home summer. In the aftermath of that disastrous tour, the Pakistan board banned Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan indefinitely, for disciplinary issues, and Shoaib Malik and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan for a year. Pakistan were further depleted when their best Twenty20 bowler, Umar Gul, was injured in Lahore while training for the tournament. Clarke, however, said Australia would not be complacent and would be determined to improve on their first-round elimination during the World Twenty20 in England last year.
"I think Pakistan are very strong in this form of our game," Clarke said. "We will have to be at our best. They like the slower pitches that spin a bit. They're the world champs, so they'll be flying high on confidence. For us, it's about making sure we get a lot of information on how their bowlers bowl, and their batters bat. We want to win every game in this tournament. The last thing we can afford is to lose games and hope for results from other teams."