Clarke: Ignore hype, and focus on winning

2015 World Cup

Australia captain Michael Clarke knows that the pressure on his side in the coming year will be immense, including a World Cup on home soil, but has urged his players to ignore the forthcoming hype.

The Aussies play an all-format tour in the UAE this month, a Test series against India later on, then the World Cup and yet another Ashes campaign, and all eyes will be on his team, who have steadily improved in recent months.

Clarke wrote in a column for News Ltd: “Obviously, this is the start of a huge period in all our cricketing lives. The trick for us will be removing as much of the hype and emotion as we can.

“I’ve found in the past that when I get swept up in the build-up to a big event, the ultimate prize has seemed far away and unattainable.

“We made it clear to the guys before last summer that this wasn’t about ‘the Ashes’ and all the hype and history that goes with that. It was about playing eleven English cricketers in five Tests on our own pitches.

“The public and the media will create the build-up. I love that. But I feel that our job as players is to cut through that emotion, do our jobs and, with any luck, make Australia proud.”

If Australia beat Pakistan 2-0 this month, they will regain the number one Test ranking, with Clarke adding: “So we’re not looking at these two Tests against Pakistan in Dubai and Abu Dhabi as playing second fiddle to more important series.

“We’re looking at it in its own right and the next step on the path to achieving our goal of returning to the top of Test and one-day cricket.”

Clarke’s own participation has been patchy in recent months, with a lower back injury and then a hamstring problem, and he says he’ll do everything he can to be fit, but won’t be selfish about it.

He added: “As I have done my whole career I will do whatever it takes to give myself the best possible opportunity of playing. I will leave nothing to chance but, equally, I will always put the team first.”