SYDNEY (AFP) –
Australian captain Michael Clarke has told his team their world rankings are “unacceptable” as he worked to fire them up ahead of upcoming matches against Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Clarke and the Australian team face emerging cricketing nation Afghanistan in a single one-dayer in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday before three matches against Pakistan and a Twenty20 series.
Speaking ahead of his departure, Clarke said the players need to improve significantly on their 4-0 humbling by England in their last one-day series.
“I think it’s a good opportunity for us to get some of that consistency back in the one-day format,” he said on the Cricket Australia website.
“We didn’t play anywhere near as well as we would’ve liked in England.
“We learned a lot and it was nice for some of the guys who hadn’t experienced those conditions to get over and do that, but we certainly didn’t get the results we were after.
“So I think it’s a good opportunity to turn that around.”
Australia are taking an experienced squad to the UAE, which will be followed by the World Twenty20 tournament in Sri Lanka, and they have plenty to prove, having slipped down the rankings in all forms of the game.
Earlier this month they lost the top spot on the International Cricket Council’s one-day rankings for the first time in nearly three years.
Going into the UAE series, Australia sit behind England, South Africa and India while things are even worse on the T20 ladder, with Australia ninth, below New Zealand and minnows Bangladesh.
They are third in the Test stakes, adrift of South Africa and England.
“It’s not about what you say now, it’s about what we do as a team,” Clarke said.
“It’s now up to us, as individual players and as a team, to do something about it.
“To realise that we sit fourth in the one-day rankings, we sit third in the Test rankings and I think we sit eighth or ninth in the Twenty20 rankings.
“Every player knows that’s unacceptable for an Australian team.”
Coach Mickey Arthur will miss the one-day component of the UAE tour to focus on preparing for the Twenty20 World Cup, but will return for the Twenty20 series against the Pakistanis, which follows the one-dayers.
Fielding coach Steve Rixon will be in charge in Arthur’s absence.
“Yes, we’ve got these four one-dayers which are crucial to the one-day setup,” said Clrake.
“But the bigger picture for the T20 boys is the Twenty20 World Cup and Mickey wants to make sure there’s no stone left unturned to win that tournament.”