Perth: Vice-captain Michael Clarke has said that Australia’s record of never being beaten at home in a Twenty20 international will not affect the team’s preparation for Sunday’s season-opening match against Sri Lanka.
Australia has won all 10 home matches. Pakistan and Zimbabwe are similarly unbeaten, albeit after only one match.
“It’s definitely an honour. I think it goes to show how we perform in our own conditions and how seriously we’re taking Twenty20 cricket,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Clarke, as saying.
There will be at least five changes from Australia’s last T20 match, against Pakistan in July, with the pace attack particularly affected.
Mitchell Johnson and Mike Hussey have been instructed to play in the Sheffield Shield, Shaun Tait is injured, and James Hopes and Tim Paine have been dropped. Brad Haddin, Shane Watson, Peter Siddle and uncapped Victorians Clint McKay and John Hastings replace them.
While Clarke’s position in the team has been scrutinised because his scoring rate is barely above a run a ball, his tenure has been strongly endorsed by chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch.
Clarke insisted his retention for this match had not been accompanied by any advice or ultimatums from the selectors.
“I think it’s exactly the same as [for] every other player,” he said.
He added: “You need to perform as well as you possibly can and if you’re not performing well enough, well, I’d imagine they would drop me like any other player. I’ve played 64 Test matches, 170-odd one-day matches and nowhere near as many Twenty20 matches for starters. I think the more I play I’m hoping the better I become at it. I continually change my training to try and adapt to the shorter form of the game. I’m trying to become a better player.”