WI are no pushovers says Clarke
SYDNEY, Australia – Michael Clarke hailed the competitive spirit shown by West Indies and felt his side will have little room for error in the upcoming Digicel three-Test series.
The Australia captain said in a column appearing in the Daily Telegraph newspaper that he was not surprised at the way West Indies played throughout the Digicel One-day and Twenty20 International Series.
“They have really taken it up to us,” he said. “Their willingness to compete has been highlighted by some brilliant fielding.
“This shows that our attitude must be spot on during the three-Test series, beginning in Barbados on Saturday.”
Clarke added: “Many in our touring party have never played Test cricket in the West Indies, which is why our preparation is so important. The hardest thing about international cricket is to succeed away from home in different conditions and cultures.
“Only the best sides have been able to achieve that consistently and to regain the No.1 Test ranking we must find a way of performing everywhere all the time.”
Clarke said his side may be coming off a long spell of matches at home, but this was no excuse for anyone to believe they could take it easy.
“I have reinforced to everyone that the only way to succeed in these unforgiving [conditions] is being willing and able to take the long haul across five days,” he said.
“Making runs will require patience against a top-quality pace attack and some unusual spin.”
“Taking wickets will involve a lot of hard work from bowlers who must be prepared for long spells with, at times, little reward.
“Chances will be particularly valuable so catches must be taken.”
Clarke said it was important for players to make the adjustment to the conditions in the Caribbean quickly and felt the three-day tour match which ended on Monday with an Australian eight-victory victory played a vital role.
“Barbados is usually the fastest of the West Indian [pitches], so tradition says we will play three fast bowlers and spinner Nathan Lyon, but that will depend on what the Barbados pitch presents,” he said.
“There is a very real possibility we could play a second spinner Michael Beer at some stage during the series. The question this week is likely to be how do we get five fast bowlers into three places?”