‘Winning Ashes in UK is main goal for 2016’

Australia

Australia captain Steve Smith says the team's main goal in the coming year will be to win consistently away from home, including that elusive Ashes victory on English soil.

Australia were soundly beaten in the UK in their most recent Ashes, and like most Test teams these days, playing away from home has proven very tough for the Baggy Green. But Smith hopes the new-look side will fix that this year.

Smith said on the CA website: "There is no doubt that one of the things I'll be driven to tick off during the rest of my career is to be part of an Ashes-winning campaign away from home.

"In fact, it is winning consistently in series – especially Test series, given they remain the benchmark of all really good teams – played outside Australia that will be the big focus for all of us in 2016.

"I have no doubt that this team, which has changed so much in terms of personnel over the past 12 months, will ultimately be judged by the way we play away from home, no matter where it is in the world.

"All the conditions that we face outside of Australia are so different and the common theme will be the importance of each individual being able to find a way to be successful in those conditions."

Aside from opener Chris Rogers, who had vast experience in England, the Aussies were out of their depth in those conditions, and Smith said they would need to prepare better, in a range of simulated ways, to combat that.

He added: "The onus will be on guys to find a way to be successful in conditions they might not be totally comfortable with, and we can encourage them to explore those before we leave Australia to further help that process.

"It might include something like working on unpredictable spin conditions that we might encounter by batting on the outfield, on thick grass, where you're not really sure how the ball is going to react.

"That helps batters to be able to think on their feet when confronted by those sorts of conditions, and gives them the confidence to know they have the game that can succeed even if it’s not first nature to them.

"And I think that’s where we got caught out a bit as a batting and bowling group in England last year."

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