It’s been a tumultuous week for Australian cricket and while dodging difficult questions, skipper Michael Clarke has called for a focused unit ahead of their tour to Sri Lanka.
There has been widespread criticism of Cricket Australia after opener Simon Katich was omitted from the list of contracted players for the upcoming season. In the aftermath the entire Australian selection policy has come under scrutiny and a storm continues to rage across the once calm waters of the sport.
However, Clarke has called for focus as his men begin preparations for their tour to Sri Lanka in August – Clarke’s first as captain – before heading to South Africa for another challenging series.
“They (Sri Lanka) are always a strong team, especially in their own conditions,” said Clarke.
“I think for us right now our focus has got to be on ourselves and we’ve got to make sure we prepare as well as we possibly can, make sure we get our skills to the level they need to be and the guys are nice and fit and ready to play in tough, hot conditions.
“No doubt we’re playing two of the toughest teams in the world in their own conditions in Sri Lanka and South Africa so we have to be at our best but I’m really confident with the talent we have in our squads.
“I’m looking forward to what lies ahead.”
The skipper is also excited by the prospect of having fast bowlers Ryan Harris and James Pattinson at his disposal as the duo return from injury.
“He played the IPL and bowled really well, as he does. He’s an amazing talent and it’s great to see him still a big part of the Australian cricket team,” Clarke said of Harris.
“Hopefully, if his body holds up he’ll be playing a lot of Test cricket for us.”
The 21-year-old Pattinson had his first taste of international cricket on Australia’s post-World Cup tour of Bangladesh and Clarke is confident that the youngster will soon be handed further opportunities.
“He made the most of his opportunity over in Bangladesh. He’s a great kid who works really hard,” Clarke said of the Victorian.
“I’m hearing good reports about how he trained during the IPL and what he’s doing now back in Victory.
“I spoke to him recently and I know he’s very excited about his chance to play for Australia again.” Cricket365