Zimbabwe tour vital for 'WC preparations': Clarke

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Old 05-Jun-2014
Arrow Zimbabwe tour vital for 'WC preparations': Clarke

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Australian captain, Michael Clarke has insisted that the upcoming triangular series in Zimbabwe (also featuring South Africa) is vital in his teams preparations for the 2015 World Cup and wants the selectors to name as strong a team as possible.

David Warner has already pulled out of the tour, claiming he wanted a break after a gruelling period that included a mentally exhausting 'twin Ashes series', the tour of South Africa as well as the Indian Premier League (IPL). He is also expecting his first child with fiancee Candice Falzon and wants to be at home ahead of the child's birth.

But Clarke has made it very clear about the value of touring Zimbabwe with the strongest possible squad. "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."

Clarke welcomed the appointment of Hashim Amla as the new Test captain of South Africa, but added that it was too early to tell what kind of a leader Amla would turn out to be.

I was surprised but in saying that I think Hashim is obviously a wonderful player, I've enjoyed the challenges I've had against him and I think he'll do a fantastic job. South African cricket is in great hands under Hashim," Clarke said.

Players currently contracted with the Australian board are attending a fitness camp at the National Cricket Centre in Brisbane, as they prepare for a hectic international season ahead. The tour of Zimbabwe will be followed by a series against Pakistan in the UAE. India will come touring for a four Test series before the World Cup kicks off mid-February.

Clarke was also presented with the ICC mace, given to the number one ranked Test team. Australia are now the number one ranked Test side, after the annual update of the ICC rankings, and Clarke received the mace on behalf of his team. Both Australia and South Africa have 123 points, but Clarke's men are ahead when calculated beyond the decimal point. The Australian captain was delighted at holding the mace. "Having the mace back on Australian soil is something that brings us a great amount of pride.

"It is a great achievement by everyone involved with the team our support staff, our families, the staff at Cricket Australia and our fans who have supported us through a couple of really tough years," he said.

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