Johannesburg, Aug 21 ANI | 3 months ago

Australia cricket team captain Michael Clarke has insisted that his side's visit to Zimbabwe was not a token tour or the 2015 World Cup audition but had been all about winning as the players returned to international action.

A 14-man squad departed Wednesday for Harare to play a two-week series that also involves South Africa, Australia's first international commitment since the ICC World T20 in Bangladesh more than four months ago.

Clarke said that he thinks it would be a tough series, and added that it is not a token tour, it's about winning, Sport24 reported.

Several key players are absent from the Australian squad, including injured all-rounder Shane Watson, fast bowler Ryan Harris and father-to-be David Warner. This has opened the door for the likes of Phil Hughes, Mitch Marsh, Ben Cutting and Kane Richardson to stake their claim to a regular first-team place.

Clarke said that he expected them all to make the most of their chance and put pressure on the players not travelling. He said that it is obviously unfortunate that they have a few injuries, but it's exciting for people like Marsh and Hughes to get an opportunity, as do Richardson and Cutting.

Clarke also denied that the players would be treating it as a try-out for the World Cup, to be hosted by Australia and New Zealand in February-March next year.

The skipper said that he thinks the players would be seeing it as an opportunity to be part of their one-day team, to try and get their foot in the door, cement their spot and make it hard for the players that aren't on this tour to get back into the team.

Australia's first match of the six-game round-robin series is against Zimbabwe on August 25, the report added.

(Posted on 21-08-2014)

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