Michael Clarke welcomes return of fit-again Aussie quicks

Skipper Michael Clarke Friday welcomed the likelihood of Australia having a surfeit of fit pacemen ahead of a demanding season of cricket climaxing with next year`s World Cup.

Michael Clarke welcomes return of fit-again Aussie quicks

Sydney: Skipper Michael Clarke Friday welcomed the likelihood of Australia having a surfeit of fit pacemen ahead of a demanding season of cricket climaxing with next year`s World Cup.

The gruelling schedule of international matches at home began on Wednesday, with the first of three Twenty20 matches against South Africa.

That will be followed by five one-day internationals against the Proteas, a four-Test series against India and a limited overs tri-series involving England and India before the one-day World Cup in February-March.

Pat Cummins, who has played little in the last three Australian seasons through injury, made an encouraging return to international cricket in Wednesday`s T20 loss to South Africa.

Josh Hazlewood, whose last international appearance was over nine months ago, starred for his New South Wales state side in the recent domestic one-day tournament.

Test paceman Ryan Harris, meanwhile, returned to action this week after being sidelined since his match-winning efforts in the Cape Town Test against South Africa back in March.

And James Pattinson, who hasn`t played a first-class game since that Cape Town Test, is also on the comeback trail.

"I think it`s great for Australian Test cricket that a lot of our fast bowlers are on the mend," Clarke said at the launch in Sydney of his latest book, "Captain`s Diary".

"Josh Hazlewood has done really well in the one-dayers, Ryan Harris is getting fitter and stronger, James Pattinson is back as is Pat Cummins.

"That`s a real positive sign for Australian cricket, moving forward. Over the next 12 months, I think we`re obviously going to need them all."

Clarke said Australia`s disastrous two-Test hammering by Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates this month would serve to spark the players in all forms of the game.

"I guess that`s extra hunger and fire in the belly for us as the Australian team, to make sure we`re at the top of our game, whether it be T20, one-day cricket or Test cricket," he said.

Pakistan inflicted a 356-run defeat in the second Test in Abu Dhabi on Monday -- Australia`s third heaviest loss in all matches -- to take the two-match series 2-0.
 

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