Clarke: Winning in England our only goal

Australia

Australia captain Michael Clarke says his team are determined to win their first Ashes series in England this summer.

The Australian team was officially welcomed to England at the High Commission in London on Monday night, and it was made clear what was expected of them.

Australian High Commissioner Alexander Downer said: “England is, let’s face it when it comes to cricket, the great enemy. You can lose to anyone but you can’t lose to England.

“I know there is an old saying here in England, of all places, that it’s the game that counts – it’s not whether you win or lose – but I’m not sure I do think that. It’s not right mate, it’s that you win.”

The first Ashes Test get under way in Cardiff from Wednesday July 8, and Clarke said the goal for the Australian side was simple. The current crop have yet to taste Ashes success on England soil, and they dearly want to change that.

“Unfortunately for all the players that stand in this room, none of us has won an Ashes series (in England) so our goal is, to state the obvious, go home from this series as winners.”

In introducing his side one by one, Clarke made a sly reference to an interview David Warner gave last week.

In the interview, the fiery opening batsman said he did not want to be the team's ‘chief sledger’ anymore.

Clarke introduced Warner by saying: “Last, but not least, David Andrew Warner. Now David’s old nickname was ‘The Bull’, it’s now ‘The Butterfly’.”

Some notable Aussies were in the crowd at the High Commission, including ex-Formula One driver Mark Webber and former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash.

Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie, who recently called the Australia squad a Dad's Army, was not in attendance.

Asked about Gillespie's comments, Clarke was quick to shrug them off.

“Jason’s a fantastic man and I loved every day I played cricket with him so our relationship certainly won’t change," he said.

"He’s a great fella and that’s part and parcel of playing sport at the highest level, people are going to have their own opinion, and they are entitled to that, so as a player it doesn’t have much relevance.

“I don’t think Sir Michael Clarke suits me at all, no. I’m a Liverpool (the New South Wales suburb) boy through and through and I can’t imagine my mates calling me Sir anything.”

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