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Clarke calls on Australia to improve consistency

India TV News Desk 24 Aug 2012, 22:06:31 IST
India TV News Desk
Dubai, Aug 24: Australia captain Michael Clarke said his players need to improve their consistency to return to No. 1 in the ICC one-day international rankings, starting on Saturday against an Afghanistan team playing only its second match against a Test-playing nation.

Australia was whitewashed 4-0 by England last month, a series defeat that helped demote it to fourth in the rankings as the English surged to No. 1.

“I just think we haven't been playing as good as cricket as need to be the No. 1 team in the world,” Clarke said. “To me it's about playing really good, consistent cricket all around the world, and I know we will get back to being No. 1.”

Clarke said he would do his part to help the team, including batting at first drop in the spot vacated by former captain Ricky Ponting if need be.

“I don't know if I've moved up to No. 3. I'm reading it in the media but I certainly haven't made anything official at this stage,” Clarke said.

Australia is the clear favourite against Afghanistan, which lost to Pakistan in an ODI earlier this year in its only previous experience against a Test nation. But the team has shown potential by qualifying for its second consecutive Twenty20 World Cup and will be playing in front of packed stadium of mostly Afghan expatriates.

Afghanistan has also spent the past few weeks adjusting to the weather, and Clarke said his opponents are “dangerous” and have “a good couple of fast bowlers up front and lots of good spinners be that left arm or right arm.”

“We will have to play some good cricket and we are going to have to adjust to conditions straight away to make sure we get the result we are after in the first match,” Clarke said. “You have to find a way to adapt, whether that be to a different pitch, different opposition, different heat. The good teams do that and we will be looking to do that in this first match.”