"Tight-Knit group" key to success: Clarke

Published: Sunday, March 15, 2009, 11:23 [IST]
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Its a pleasant team atmosphere: Clarke

Cape Town: Australia's Michael Clarke feels that his team"s success against South Africa in the recent past is all due to the pleasant team atmosphere of having a good time which reflects on the field.

Australia recently completed a convincing 2-0 series victory against the hosts, South Africa, in the ongoing Test series. The Australian squad included some fresh faces with veterans Brett Lee, Andrew Symonds and Stuart Clark out due to injury.

However Australia, who had a forgettable 2008 Test season, came up triumphs with convincing victories in both Tests as newcomers Marcus North, Philip Hughes and Ben Hilfenhaus made noteworthy contributions.

Vice-captain Michael Clarke attributes this winning attitude to the fact that the team has transformed into a “tight-knit group".

He said, “Theres all this youth, all this enthusiasm, the boys have trained their absolute backsides off, but were all having a really good tour together. Everyone is getting on so well."

"It holds us in good stead for the future. It makes a big difference when youve got a good bunch of guys around you."

Clarke said that he was talking to his father who commented that the team was looking unbelievable on the field with everyone having a great time.

Clarke reiterated that that"s exactly how the team was feeling, “Were just out there having a great time, playing well, winning - were flying."

Only a few months back South Africa handed Australia its first home-series loss in 16 years when it won the three-Test series 2-1. However, on the current tour to South Africa, North scored a maiden century on debut in the first Test while Hughes became the youngest player score centuries in both innings of a Test at Durban.

With the veterans scheduled to return in the near future, Clarke says that the problem of plenty will only be a good thing for Australia provided they find the right balance.

“Since Ive played international cricket theres always been someone in front of you that youre trying to catch or be as good as, or there are plenty of people behind you trying to take your spot."

"Theres going to be pressure on the selectors there to work out what the best mix is. If everyone is fit, theyve just got to work out what the best mix is for who were playing and where were playing them. It"s great competition, its very healthy for the team."

The third and final Test between Australia and South Africa begins on March 19 at Cape Town.

thatsCricket (With Inputs From Agencies)

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