Sydney: The momentum Australia have gained from the recent hard-fought win against South Africa will carry the team to their maiden World Twenty20 title in Bangladesh, Test captain Michael Clarke said on Friday.
Despite the distinct differences in format and conditions, doubled with the fact Australia has never won the tournament, Clarke is backing his countrymen to continue the green and gold rush and go all the way.
“I think they can,” Clarke said. “I think they’ll be led extremely well by George (Bailey). He’s captained the Twenty20 team exceptionally well for a while now.”
Australia might have knocked over the world No. 1 South Africans in their own backyard, but Clarke says his side would be foolish to consider themselves the best team in Test cricket.
While he wanted his players to put their feet up and reflect on their achievements this summer, the captain emphasised the job was far from done.
“I think South Africa have well and truly earned that mantle and that doesn’t come lightly. They are still the best Test side,” said.
“You’ve got to have success over a long period of time and they’ve (the Proteas) done that.”
“We’re playing some really good cricket and I think we’re improving as a team but there’s a long way to go before we will consider ourselves the No. 1 team in the world.”
Meanwhile, Cricket Australia’s National Selection Panel on Thursday said that Mitchell Johnson will return home to Australia to rest ahead of the World Twenty20 and will not take part in the Twenty20 Series against South Africa beginning on Sunday.
“Mitch has had a very long summer and we think he will benefit from returning home for a few days of rest with his family where he can freshen up,” coach Darren Lehmann said. He will link back up with the squad in Bangladesh ahead the ICC World Twenty20.”
Fast bowler Ryan Harris is booked in for surgery and a handful of other Test squad members have also returned home for a well-earned break, but David Warner, Mitchell Johnson, Shane Watson and Brad Haddin will form the nucleus of Australia’s assault on the World Twenty20. (Agencies)