Saturday, May 1, 2010

Clarke wary of Pakistan pitfalls in Aussie opener

GROS ISLET (Saint Lucia) (AFP) – Australia captain Michael Clarke is expecting a stern challenge from defending champions Pakistan in his side’s World Twenty20 opener here on Sunday.
Pakistan’s recent tour of Australia saw them fail to win in three Tests, five one-day internationals and a Twenty20.
The fall-out was dramatic, with former captains Mohammad Yousuf and Younus Khan receiving indefinite bans for infighting.
On top of their disciplinary problems, Pakistan will also be without Umar Gul, the most successful bowler in Twenty20 internationals with 43 wickets in 26 matches, after the paceman suffered a shoulder injury at a training camp in Lahore earlier this month.
But batsman Clarke, leading Australia now that Ricky Ponting has opted out of Twenty20 internationals, told reporters here on Saturday: “I think Pakistan are very strong in this form of our game. We will have to be at our best.
“They’re the world champs, so they’ll be flying high on confidence.
“They like the slower pitches that spin a bit. I would imagine they always like beating Australia like every country seems to do.
“For us, it’s about making sure we get a lot of information on how their bowlers bowl, their batters bat.”
Australia will be able to update their files on Pakistan when the title-holders face Bangladesh here on Saturday in the first Group A match.
Clarke’s men were involved in a shock result even before the tournament proper started after losing a warm-up match by one run to outsiders Zimbabwe this week.
But Clarke insisted the defeat could yet work in Australia’s favour.
“We got a lot out of that game. And like I say, we played the game so everyone could get an opportunity so we could get a better idea of what our first XI is going to be,” he said.
“I’m confident we’ve got the talent and potential. We just have to execute our skills to the best of our ability. In this form of the game, you can’t afford one bad over with either the bat or the ball.