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    Jun 2010


    Default Clarke backs T20 team in world cup

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    Test skipper Michael Clarke believes Australia's T20 team can win the ICC World Twenty20 tournament in Sri Lanka.

    George Bailey's side are languishing in ninth spot on the official T20 world rankings, one spot behind Bangladesh and one clear of Afghanistan.

    But Clarke, who stepped down from T20 internationals last January to concentrate on the one-day and Test formats, declared Australia genuine contenders to claim their first World Twenty20 title.

    "I think we can win the Twenty20 World Cup for sure," Clarke said at the Cricket NSW season launch in Sydney.

    "We've got the talent, I think we showed that in the last game against Pakistan in the UAE.

    "We've showed it in patches over the last couple of years and we made the final last time around and I hope we can go one better."

    Reminded of his former side's unflattering ranking, Clarke quipped: "Hopefully, we're not ranked there by the end of the World Cup.

    "It's different for the Australian team and I guess what it does show is we haven't performed as well as we need to in that form of the game.

    "We need to turn that around and what better time to do it than at the World Cup."

    Australia have been drawn in Group B alongside Ireland and the West Indies and will begin their campaign in Colombo against the Irish on September 19.

    Clarke, who will begin preparations for the three Test series against South Africa in November by playing three Sheffield Shield matches for NSW, has no regrets over his decision to retire from T20 internationals.

    "I'm really focused on trying to get my head back around Test cricket and right now trying to help NSW have some success in the Ryobi Cup and the Sheffield Shield games, but there's no doubt I'll be watching closely and supporting the boys in Sri Lanka," he said.

    The 31-year-old, who amazingly has never captained his state, will lead the Blues into battle for the first time in Sunday's Ryobi Cup clash against the Warriors.

    "I'm really looking forward to it, just being back playing with the boys is going to be exciting, let alone having the chance to captain NSW for the first time," he said.

    "I think it's great for the first-class teams to have the international players back playing (state cricket).

    "I think the game needs it, I think the international players need to get back and play with their states or their grade clubs, I think it's really important for the game.

    "I remember fondly having the chance to play with Steve Waugh when he captained Australian and what the feeling was like when he was around training.

    "It gives you that little extra boost and I wanted to spend time in the middle with him, I wanted to score runs with him, I wanted to show him I could play."



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