Australia deserves underdog label for Ashes tour, says Michael Clarke
Australia are underdogs for the Ashes series in England, but will do all they can to bring the coveted urn back home, skipper Michael Clarke said yesterday.
There was more talk of aspiration than expectation as the Australia squad officially bid farewell to the country in a ceremony at Sydney airport before they leave for England at the weekend.
England hold the Ashes after a convincing 3-1 series win in 2010-11 and Australia's recent 4-0 drubbing in India has not persuaded many that they have much chance of wresting back the trophy.
"It's a fair indication of where both teams are at," Clarke said of the underdogs tag. "England have a lot of experience. A lot of the guys have been involved in Ashes series before and they're playing some really good cricket.
"Our recent series in India wasn't nearly as good as we would have liked, so I accept that we are the underdogs, but we'll be doing everything in our power to have success.
"Our goal is to win the series, we know it's going to be tough, but we're going to have a red-hot crack at hopefully winning the Ashes for the Australian people," he said.
While Australia's pace attack will be licking their lips at the prospect of bowling on English wickets, the batsmen had a torrid time in India and, despite his own excellent form over the last two years, Clarke said they all must improve.
"The batters know we didn't perform as well as we needed, we didn't make enough runs and we are certainly accountable for our performances," he said.
"We know that if we can bat well as a unit, that will give our young, talented fast bowlers every opportunity to take 20 wickets."