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A proud moment: Michael

Dubai: Australia captain Michael Clarke, on Wednesday, got his hands on the ICC Test mace, a symbol of his side’s status as the No.1-ranked Test side in the world.

Clarke, who inspired his side to victories over England and South Africa in the past season, received the mace in Brisbane on Wednesday at a training camp for the upcoming season. This is the first time since August 2009 that the mace is in Australia’s possession.

After receiving the mace, a delighted Clarke said: “Having the mace back on Australian soil is something that brings us a great amount of pride.

“It is a great achievement by everyone involved with the team — our support staff, our families, the staff at Cricket Australia (CA) and our fans who have supported us through a couple of really tough years.

“For me, personally as captain, this is an incredibly satisfying achievement and one of the proudest moments of my career.”

Clarke believed Test cricket remained the ultimate challenge for any cricketer. “Test cricket truly is a ‘test’.

It requires stamina, skill, patience, fitness and the ability to adapt to different conditions and opponents.

“It is still the purest form of cricket and I don’t think there would be a young cricketer in this country who wouldn’t want to represent Australia and wear the Baggy Green in a Test match,” said Clarke.