Sydney, Oct 14: Michael Clarke leaves for South Africa and his biggest test as Australia captain admitting he has a lot of learning to do when it comes to leading an international cricket team.
Clarke said Friday that winning in South Africa would be a great achievement for his young team, but Australia needs to be at its best to beat the Proteas.
“I've got a lot of work to do on my game individually and then also as a captain, so I'm still learning, I will be for a long time,” said Clarke, who took over from Ricky Ponting as test captain this year.
Clarke will lead Australia in three one-day internationals and two tests at South Africa, just weeks after a successful campaign in Sri Lanka.
“I just want to continue to get better both as an individual performer and also as a leader of this group,” he said.
The test squad for Sri Lanka contains several uncapped and inexperienced players, including spin bowler Nathan Lyon, and Clarke says a win over No. 2 ranked South Africa would be significant for the fourth-ranked Australians.
“South Africa are a very tough team in any form of the game, especially in their own backyard,” Clarke said. “So (a win) will be a great achievement.”
He identified Lyon as a player who could was ready to make an impact in test cricket.
“He's got beautiful shape out of his hand, he's got great natural variation, great change of pace, he's young and inexperienced, so it's going to take some time,” Clarke said.
“But he's a huge talent and he'll play a big part over the next 12 months for Australia in test cricket.”
With South Africa including arguably the world's best new-ball paring of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, Clarke acknowledged the importance of Australia's top-order batsmen in getting good starts.
“We know as a batting group there are going to be some tough periods, but generally once you get in in South Africa the wickets are pretty good,” Clarke said.
“So if we can really work hard in that first session and get through that new ball, we will be in good stead for some big scores.”