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Rebuilding Australia’s Cricket – A Slow Road Back Says New Captain Clarke

Aug 6, 2011 3:07:47 PM - thesundayleader.lk

Michael Clarke believes it could take some time for Australia to re-establish themselves as a dominant force in Test cricket. From spending the best part of 15 years as the No.1 Test team, Australia have slumped to fifth in the rankings behind India, South Africa, England and Sri Lanka following a lean two-year period.

Sri Lanka will be Clarke’s first tour as since taking over as captain from Ricky Ponting, and he has admitted there will not be an instant turnaround in fortunes.
“I really hope we can turn things around straight away, (but) I think it is going to take time for us to work our way back up the rankings,” he said.
“We need to get better. I can guarantee you we are working as hard as I’ve ever worked in my career and hopefully we can turn that around sooner rather than later.
“But the facts are we have to have some success, we have to play good cricket and we have to improve from our recent results.
“It’s about heading back in the right direction.
“I’m confident with the talent we’ve got – not only in our squad but around domestic cricket – that if we continue on this road I can see us having some success.”
Clarke’s 15-man squad contains four uncapped players – pacemen Trent Copeland and James Pattinson, spinner Nathan Lyon and top-order batsman Shaun Marsh.
The skipper believes the introduction of so many unproven players will rejuvenate the squad after the disappointment of losing last year’s Ashes series.
“I love the fact we’ve got some new fresh faces that are going to be really excited and itching for their opportunity,” Clarke said.
“There are a few changes but a lot of talent. It’s a good opportunity for a few guys.
“We’re not blinded by the fact we’ve got two of the best teams in the world in their own conditions in Sri Lanka and then (a tour of) South Africa.
“It’s going to be a tough start for us but a good test to see where we’re at.
“If we can have some success against both these teams playing away from home, I think that will give us some real confidence coming into the summer to play against India.”
Australia will play two Twenty20s, five one-day internationals and three Tests in Sri Lanka.