Australia focused on T20

ABHU DHABI: Australia’s stand-in captain Michael Clarke said on Monday his team were focused on next month’s Twenty20 World Cup in England, despite the looming challenge of the Ashes in July.

The Ashes was “something all the players and public look forward to,” Clarke said, but the Twenty20 World Cup was one in which “we have not been as successful as would have liked.” Clarke added, “Our form in Twenty20 has been okay, but the T20 World Cup is one event we haven’t won, so we can’t take our eyes off that just yet.”

Clarke, who led Australia in the absence of regular captain Ricky Ponting, was speaking before returning home after guiding his team to a 3-2 win over Pakistan in the one-day series that ended on Sunday. Australia and Pakistan will play one more match in the United Arab Emirates — a one-off Twenty20 match in Dubai Thursday in which Australia will be captained by Brad Haddin.

With batsman Michael Hussey and spearhead Mitchell Johnson — who were also rested for the series against Pakistan — returning to the squad next month, Australia would be at full strength for both the Ashes and the Twenty20 tournaments, Clarke said. “Whatever squad we pick will be very keen to do well but it would be great... to be at full strength at the World Cup, do our best and then wait for the Ashes,” he said. Nevertheless, Cl-arke acknowledged that the Ashes tournament had always been foremost on the minds of Austr-alia’s cricketers and its fans. “The Ashes (is) something all the players and public look forward to. (England) is a wonderful place to play cricket and England have always been competitive, no matt-er where you play them,” he said.