Australia captain Michael Clarke has urged his team-mates to put their recent off-field problems behind them and concentrate on the business of regaining the Ashes after a troubled build-up to next month’s first Test against England.
Clarke, Australia’s best batsman, returned to action against Somerset on Wednesday following a recurrence of a longstanding back problem in the first of two warm-up maches — the tourists also face Worcestershire — before the first Test at Trent Bridge on July 10.
The Somerset match was also former Test batsman Darren Lehmann‘s first as Australia head coach after Mickey Arthur was sensationally sacked on Monday just 16 days out from the Ashes.
“Our mindset as a group is to move forward, there is no doubt about it,” Clarke told Sky Sports. “I think the boys trained really well yesterday and a lot of guys have come down early today to get some work in. We’re working really hard.
“We know that improvement’s needed from what’s happened in the past,” Clarke added.
Australia made an early exit from the ICC Champions Trophy, where they also lost to England, and are without opener David Warner for the Somerset and Worcestershire games.