Michael Clarke expects a tough series for Australia against South Africa © Getty Images
Jan 31, 2014
Australia skipper Michael Clarke believes that his side has the best bowling attack in Test cricket after they dismantled England 5-0 in the just concluded 2013-14 Ashes series.
“I’m a little bit biased, but in my opinion this Australian attack is the best in the world. What I’ve seen from the Australian fast bowlers over a long period of time, I feel we have the best attack in the world,” said Clarke. Australia are currently preparing for the series against South Africa at Potchefstroom, starting off with a four-day game against the South African Invitation XI on Sunday.
Clarke also believes that the South Africans have had much of their recent success at home and expected a tough battle for his side in the three-match Test series which will start in Centurion on February 12.
“I think it’s going to be a tough tour for the batters. You have two very good bowling attacks. I don’t know what the wickets are going to be like, but generally there is a bit in the wickets in South Africa,” said Clarke who believes both sides will have a testing time due to each other’s bowling strength.
“Being in South Africa’s backyard, I would imagine they will be favourites but that doesn’t bother us,” added Clarke who is not concerned about conceding the ‘favourites’ tag to the Proteas.
“We just need to continue to play the way we played through the Australian summer. We need to make sure we’re scoring enough runs. We’re up against a very good bowling attack. Our bowlers need to keep executing to take 20 wickets in a Test match,” said Clarke who feels it will be important for the Australians to carry on with their momentum of the 5-0 Ashes drubbing of England.
“It’s about getting used to the conditions, but if we can play a similar brand of cricket to what we played in Australia, then I think we can have some success over here,” added Clarke who is also confident of his side putting up a good showing.
On being asked about whether South Africa would miss Jacques Kallis, Clarke replied, “Jacques was a magnificent player, and no team would ever be able to replace him. It presents opportunities for some other guys to play for South Africa in the Test team. The South African batting line-up is extremely strong even without Jacques being in there, but Jacques would still be a big loss for any team.”
“It’s never been part of our plan. It’s just been the way the games turn out. When you’re on the field – no matter who you’re playing against it’s a tough challenge. We understand there’s a line there that you can’t cross, and we won’t,” opined Clarke on the amount of sledging going on in Test cricket.
“I know Graeme (Smith) quite well and a lot of the South African players. There’s a lot of mutual respect for both teams. You’ll see some hard-fought cricket, but both teams get on very well off the field. You’ll see both teams get together after the game for a few quiet beers,” concluded Clarke about the good relationship the Australians had with the South Africans and added that it would be maintained in the upcoming series.