London : Rival skippers Alastair Cook and Michael Clarke both have particular reasons for wanting to win the upcoming Ashes series that begins with the first cricket Test in Cardiff starting on Wednesday.
For England skipper Cook, an Ashes series win would be the ideal reward for several difficult years which included a 5-0 whitewash reversal ‘Down Under' in 2013/14, the fall-out from the international exile of Kevin Pietersen and a personal loss of form.
Meanwhile an Ashes series win in England is one of the few outstanding achievements left for Clarke to fulfil in the course of a brilliant career, with the star batsman's three previous Test series in Britain ending in defeat.
Clarke has a reputation for being a bolder and more aggressive leader in the field than Cook and Australia great Shane Warne, himself a renowned cricket tactician, said he always detected the makings of a future skipper in his compatriot when they played together at English county side Hampshire in 2004.
”We stood alongside each other in the slips and chatted all day about captaincy,” Warne told the Sunday Times.
”He showed a great cricket brain for one with so little big-match experience under his belt.”
Clarke, however, has not always had the support of his players as was shown by the fall-out from the ‘homework-gate' affair in India, although there appears to be far greater harmony within the Australia camp since Darren Lehmann replaced Mickey Arthur as coach on the eve of the 2013 Ashes in England.