Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 12th 2014 Contents A67
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
CENTURION---Whatever the "poverty,"
as one reporter described it, of England s
performances in the Ashes, Australia
will discover over the next three weeks
just how good its revived Test team is.
Australia can t overtake South Africa
as the top-ranked team---even if it wins
this series 3-0---but that doesn t matter
a bit for either. Only a series victory does
and Australia s 5-0 whitewash of England
sent it to South Africa with ideal prepa-
ration, if an Ashes series can be viewed
While disagreeing with the reporter s
assessment of England, Australia captain
Michael Clarke said yesterday that South
Africa s No 1 ranking was undoubtedly
well-earned, and the Australians will dis-
cover how far off the top they are.
"They ve earned their No 1 ranking,
they re the best team in the world," Clarke
said at SuperSport Park the day before
the first Test. "And that s the challenge
you want as a player. It s a great challenge
and test and opportunity for this Aus-
tralian team that s high on confidence at
the moment through the success we had
in the Australian summer, but we re up
against a very good opposition, there s
no doubt about it."
Australia dominated England off the
back of a fast bowling trio led by Mitchell
Johnson. In South Africa, Australia s bats-
men will face a similarly aggressive threat
from the home attack that includes No
1-ranked Test bowler Vernon Philander
and No 2 Dale Steyn.
Previously, in his first media oppor-
tunity in South Africa, Clarke immediately
backed his quicks as the best in the world
and better than South Africa s, comments
pounced on and poured over by the home
media. Australia s other bowlers hinted
that South Africa s batsmen also won t
be able to handle the pace of Johnson
and the aggression of the Aussies.
"We don t expect anything different,"
South Africa captain Graeme Smith
said. "We have a good idea of how to
counter it and ultimately it s all a
sideshow. It s all about the cricket."
With two lethal fast bowling attacks,
the batsmen in both line-ups will probably
face the most pressure throughout the
three-match series. Clarke was asked, a
little mischievously, if he rated his batsmen
above the South Africans as he did with
"We re about to find out, aren t we?"
In fact, despite the hype over a meeting
of two of cricket s most aggressive teams,
and two in-form teams, a war of words
has not broken out ahead of the contest.
Clarke recognised the Proteas bowlers
as "probably the best bowlers that I ve
faced in my career."
Smith and the South Africans have
made a point, they say, of not letting the
talk overshadow the cricket.
"I think the Aussies have been good
for ticket sales and newspaper sales and
that s been beneficial from that perspec-
tive," Smith said. "It s been business as
usual for us, really." (AP)
selected veterans Brad Hogg,
Brad Hodge and Brad Haddin
in its squad for the World Twen-
ty20 in Bangladesh next month.
Hogg, 43, is set to become the
oldest player ever in international
T20 cricket and eclipse Kenya s
Steve Tikolo (42) as the oldest
T20 player international in his-
"Despite his age, his enthusi-
asm and fitness are undimin-
ished," national selection panel
chairman John Inverarity said
The 39-year-old Hodge has
been rewarded for smashing 219
runs at an average of 36.5 for the
Melbourne Stars in the domestic
Big Bash League, while Test
wicketkeeper Haddin, 36,
replaces Matt Wade behind the
Fellow-Test regulars Shane
Watson, David Warner and
Mitchell Johnson were also
"We have selected a squad that
has plenty of experience playing
the Twenty20 format in the sub-
continent," Inverarity said.
Allrounder James Faulkner has
been picked in anticipation he
will recover from knee surgery
in time for the tournament,
which starts March 16.
George Bailey will captain Aus-
tralia in Bangladesh as the team
looks for its first ever World T20
title after four unsuccessful
attempts. Rookie Victoria legspin-
ner James Muirhead was picked
for his first major international
Clarke: Aussies on high,
ready for South Africa
Australia names Brads in T20 squad
George Bailey (captain), Dan
Christian, Nathan Coulter-
Nile, James Faulkner, Aaron
Finch, Brad Haddin, Brad
Hodge, Brad Hogg, Glenn
Maxwell, James Muirhead,
Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell
Starc, David Warner, Shane
Watson, Cameron White.
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