Michael Clarke says he wants as strong a team as possible for the upcoming ODI series in Zimbabwe despite David Warner’s decision to sit out the tour.
Don’t expect a flurry of high-profile omissions following David Warner’s withdrawal from Australia’s upcoming one-day tour of Zimbabwe.
Warner ruled himself out of the August and September tour last month, claiming he needed a break following a gruelling six months of cricket and he wanted to be at home ahead of the birth of his first child with fiancee Candice Falzon.
But captain Michael Clarke has made it abundantly clear he values the tour as a crucial step in the team’s preparations for next year’s World Cup and he wants as strong a team as possible alongside him.
The triangular series tournament will pit Australia against Zimbabwe twice and South Africa once with the possibility of a September 6 final in Harare based on results.
“It’s an important series,” Clarke said.
“Any one-day game now leading up to the World Cup is crucial to us as a team.
“The more success we can have leading into that tournament the better, so hopefully a full strength team that’s ready to play against two very good teams in tough conditions.”
The Proteas will continue to be led in the ODIs by AB de Villiers despite Hashim Amla being named as the successor to Graeme Smith as South Africa’s Test captain on Tuesday ahead of de Villiers.
Clarke said it was too early to tell what kind of a leader Amla would be but he expects him to be a success.
“I was surprised but in saying that I think Hashim is obviously a wonderful player,” Clarke said.
“I’ve enjoyed the challenges I’ve had against him and I think he’ll do a fantastic job for South Africa.
“South African cricket is in great hands under Hashim.”
Clarke and the rest of Australia’s players not playing County cricket in England are in Brisbane on a training camp.
It was during the camp on Wednesday Clarke was presented with the International Cricket Council’s mace following Australia’s ascension to No.1 in the world Test rankings last month.
The Australian skipper has long made it his goal to get the team back on top of the rankings but said now that had been achieved there were plenty of other challenges lying ahead.
“It’s a fantastic achievement from the team that’s for sure,” he said.
“We still see a huge improvement from the team … good teams get to number one in any sport, great teams stay there.”