Youth & enthusiasm vs India's wise heads: Clarke

Published: Saturday, December 17, 2011, 11:25 [IST]
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We are not playing consistently: Clarke

Melbourne, Dec 17: Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke says the "youth and enthusiasm" of his team would be up against Indias "old wise heads" during the eagerly-awaited Test series from December 26.

"I think its going to be a really good contest between youth and enthusiasm versus some old wise heads in the Indian team," Clarke wrote in his column for The Daily Telegraph.

Clark admitted that the Australians have been going "one step forward and two steps backwards" in the rebuilding process which has brought with it some very disappointing results in the past few months.

"All of us feel were playing inconsistent cricket at the moment. Were showing so many great signs when were playing well, but then we have episodes like Cape Town (shot out for 47) and the second innings against New Zealand at Bellerive that let us down," he said.

"There definitely has been improvement in this group. Were heading in the right direction. We have to be more consistent, but weve shown recently the depth of talent in Australian cricket.

"The Border-Gavaskar series gives us an excellent chance to start moving that way," he added.

Talking about the Indian challenge, Clarke said handling the formidable batting line-up of the visitors would be quite a task but his batsmen should not find the inexperienced bowling of Mahendra Singh Dhonis men too hard to deal with.

"The Indians are a very strong team currently ranked second in the world on the ICC Test ladder behind England. In Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag (to name a few) they have a lot of batting experience, knowledge and runs," he said.

"But their bowling lacks experience and theyre dealing with injuries as well. Theyll have concerns there. Zaheer Khan is a big player for them," Clarke explained.

Clarke also assured that the bitterness of the 2008 series, due to the infamous monkeygate scandal, wont be there this time.

"I am 100 per cent confident therell be no repeat of the unpleasantness the last time Australia played India in a Test series at home. Youll see really hard fought cricket on the field because both teams are competitive and want to win.

"But off the field, there is tremendous mutual respect between the two sides," he said.

Clarke said the Aussies have been practising hard against seaming deliveries and having a batting camp before the series has turned out to be a good idea.

"Were doing a lot of practise against the moving ball. Were facing two-piece balls in the nets so weve got the ball swinging and seaming.

"...I think the pre-test batting camp is a positive initiative. It gives all batters a chance to come together and prepare really well for what will be a great test of skill against India," he said.

"Were going to Melbourne a couple of days early to train as a batting unit and to talk about our plans against Indias bowlers.

"Obviously, it doesnt guarantee anything but it shows were going to do everything in our power to improve. Im confident we can make amends against India," he added.


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