Clarke to use Pak ODI series to bring Oz batting back to its consistent best

Michael ClarkeMelbourne, Apr 20 : Australia’s captain for the Dubai series, Michael Clarke, has said that his team’s main focus will be on improving their batting during the one-day international series against Pakistan.

Clarke leads a squad without regular captain Ricky Ponting, strike bowler Mitchell Johnson and middle order batsman Mike Hussey, all being rested ahead of the Twenty20 world championship and Ashes campaign.

The Australian squad assembled in Dubai ahead of the tour-opener on Wednesday with Clarke predicting that Pakistan will prove a difficult opponent in their first ODI clashes in more than four years.

The series is being played in the United Arab Emirates because of security concerns in the wake of the recent terror attack on the Sri Lanka team in Lahore.

“All of us are very happy to be playing Pakistan. We know we are up against a strong Pakistan team, but we are confident,” Clarke said.

Clarke is more concerned with getting the team’s batting back to its consistent best after their top order struggles in the recent 3-2 ODI series loss in South Africa.

“We are playing so much of cricket that we need to rest some of our players. We have done that in the past and still have performed very well. For us, every game is important. I feel our top order batsmen should be a little more consistent,” Clarke said.

“Our batting did not come off really good in South Africa. So our main focus will be on our batting,” he added.

One of Clarke’s first tasks will be to finalise his new top order batting line-up, with the previously successful opening pair of Shaun Marsh and Shane Watson returning to the squad after injury, and a big hole to fill at No. 3 in Ponting’s absence.

The first two matches of the series will be played at Dubai Sports City’s stadium, on Wednesday and Friday, before the teams move to Abu Dhabi for three ODI matches, on April 27, May 1 and 3.

The only Twenty20 match will be played in Dubai on May 7. (ANI)