Full transcript of Michael Clarke's Press Conference ahead of the quarterfinal clash between Pakistan and Australia. You can also listen to the full press conference in the audio widget above.
Q. Do you have a team?
MICHAEL CLARKE: I don't have a team at this stage. The selectors are waiting to see how everyone pulled up after training yesterday, and we wanted to assess the wicket again today.
Q. Are there any injury concerns we need to know about, or is it generally how the guys are pulling up?
MICHAEL CLARKE: No, I think at this stage everyone's a hundred percent fit and available for selection. It's a real positive for us and obviously a good problem to have for the selectors.
Q. Since the last international tournament of the Champions Trophy, you won about 72% of your games, well ahead of everyone else. Does that make you think almost as a sense you deserve to win this or is that a dangerous attitude to have in a knockout match?
MICHAEL CLARKE: I think you know the answer to that question, Jess. The past is the past. We need to turn up tomorrow and play our best cricket if we want to beat Pakistan. It's as simple as that. I don't think you're ever owed anything in this game of cricket. So we have to make sure we're ready to go tomorrow, which we will be.
Q. Michael, given you don't have the team locked in yet, what happens at training or is that relevant at all particularly with the bowlers?
MICHAEL CLARKE: Well, today is optional for us, so I think you might see a lot of the bowlers here. Had a couple of really good sessions over the last few days, so I think it's more just for the selectors to be a hundred percent sure, confirm what they think in regards to looking at the pitch and make their decision. Like I've said before, all 15 players are a hundred percent fit and prepared if they're given the opportunity. So in regards to the playing 11, it makes no difference as well.
Q. You've reached the business end of the tournament. Have you noticed a lift in the sense of anticipation and excitement around the group?
MICHAEL CLARKE: I think everybody's happy it's finally here. There is no doubt about it. I think you've probably noticed that more from the public and the media, to be honest. I think it's been a long tournament. It's been a really good tournament though, I think, for the game of cricket. For One Day Cricket it's been a fantastically run tournament and been really good to see so many of the different countries have success and play some of their best cricket. So it's been great for the game. I just think everybody's at a stage now where it's been building and building and everybody's really excited that we're finally here. Yeah, your No. 1 goal is to make it to the quarterfinals, firstly. When you get here, now you look forward to that big stage and playing against the best.
Q. What are you expecting from Pakistan? As ever in World Cups they blow hot and cold and tend to sort of find form in these sort of tournaments. What are you expecting from them?
MICHAEL CLARKE: Yeah, I think Pakistan have been underrated for a long time, especially in the shorter form of the game. I think they've got a lot of talent. I think they're attack is very good and they've shown that throughout this series. I think they've got a good mix of youth and experience and their batting really well, and they're led well from Misbah. I think tomorrow will be a tough challenge for us, and I believe we have to be at our best to beat them.
Q. Michael, your batting lineup or your batting order you shuffled around a bit against Scotland to give guys a hit. Do you revert back to more or less what you did against Sri Lanka batting order-wise or are there other permutations?
MICHAEL CLARKE: I'm trying to think of the batting order against Sri Lanka that we had? Well, I can guarantee I won't be opening. Maybe One Day, but not right now. So, yeah, Finchy and Davey will go back to opening, and then we'll assess. I think our batting order is -- I think against Sri Lanka it was -- I think Maxi came in at 5, but he was down to bat at 6. It was just the situation of the game that we changed the order. I think our order is pretty flexible, so, like I said, apart from the top two that will open the batting and have done so really throughout the whole tournament apart from one game to try to give a few people a hit, the rest is very flexible. We'll work out the situation of the game, batting first, batting second and assess. And I think that's one of our great strengths that we've got a number of guys that have batted in different positions through their career and have enjoyed some success in different positions as well. So it's a good problem to have.
Q. People say Australia's the favorite in this contest. What do you think and how do you see Pakistan's pace attack without Irfan?
MICHAEL CLARKE: I think they've got a very good pace attack. Good mix of left and right arm, and obviously the experience and skill of Afridi as well. He's a great strength of Pakistan's. What was the first part about me?
Q. Who’s favourite?
MICHAEL CLARKE: Oh, it's irrelevant who is favorite now. You have to play your best cricket. We're really focused on this game. We'll treat this like a World Cup final for us. It's a crucial game. Obviously, you lose, and you're sitting and watching the rest of the tournament, so we're focused on just making sure we can have success in this game here tomorrow.
Q. My question is similar to Dan’s one, but with Shane Watson and Glenn Maxwell, does it really depend on if you guys feel you're on top, Glenn Maxwell in the form he's in will come out and maybe a few more on the back foot? It will be Shane who comes out?
MICHAEL CLARKE: No, I don't think so. I think they've both got their strengths. It's about assessing the situation of the game, like I said batting first, batting second, that varies as well. How many overs are bowled, Powerplays, there are a lot of things you assess when you make a change in the batting order. But at the end of the day, it's about what you think is best for the team at that time when you make that call.
Q. You guys are bowling well, batting well, fielding well. All 11 of your players seem to be in form. Are there any concerns that you have going into the knockout stage? Or if there isn't, are you worried about it that there is no concerns?
MICHAEL CLARKE: That's probably a trick question. Like I said, I think the most important part of the answer I can give you is what's happened beforehand is irrelevant. As long as individuals are confident with their own game and you get that by having success along the way, and by your preparation, making sure you're training hard, then all that matters is tomorrow. Doesn't matter how well you've played beforehand or what your plans are afterwards. It's about tomorrow being a hundred percent focused and as well prepared as you can be and batting as well as you can, bowling as well as you can, and hopefully our fielding continues to be as good as it has been throughout this tournament. So at this stage I don't have too many concerns. I'm really happy that the selectors have 15 players to choose from. I'm really happy we've had some success throughout the tournament and we've got some momentum. But like I say, really, it's irrelevant. When you walk out on the fieldtomorrow it's a new day. We all start on zero with the bat and zero with the ball as well.
Q. Pat Cummins the other day said he thought this pitch was one of the fastest he's played on this summer. Is it a bit of a fast bowlers pitch, and is that where you have an advantage, do you think?
MICHAEL CLARKE: Well, I think like I said, Pakistan have some really good quicks in their attack, and they've shown that throughout the series. I think the pitch has certainly gotten quicker over the years. I think the groundsman always does a great job here in Adelaide. It's a beautiful ground, and I think we're going to see another great wicket tomorrow. So I think fast bowling will play a big part tomorrow, especially if I leave that grass on the wicket like there is now, fingers crossed. But I think both teams have good fast bowlers in their lineup. The batters, we're going to have to make sure we play really well.
Q. Given the last couple of months with your body and injuries that you've sustained and your desire to play Test Cricket and how important you are to the test side, do you think this tournament could be the last time we see you in limited overs colors?
MICHAEL CLARKE: I've had injuries concerns since I was 17 years of age. I think I've played over 200 One Dayers and over a hundred Test Matches. So it hasn't stopped me to date, and I don't think it will after this series either.
Q. Do you believe that Pakistan has any weakness at all? If they do, then how do you plan to exploit it?
MICHAEL CLARKE: I believe every team and every player has weaknesses, but they also have strengths. So I think it's important that we as a team know what the strengths and weaknesses are of the Pakistan team and make sure we execute our skills as well as we possibly can to see more of their weaknesses than their strengths. But no doubt every single player has both strengths and weaknesses. It's just about opposition, knowing them and having the skill to be able to show them up.
Q. In spite of all the grass on the wicket, it seems like a pretty good one for batting. Are you expecting a high scorer tomorrow?
MICHAEL CLARKE: I don't know the answer to that question to be honest. Two good attacks on a wicket that looks like it's got a bit of grass on it will be tough for the batters. But Australia, in general, if you get in as a batsman, it's a wonderful place to bat. Just starting your innings is always difficult. So, yeah, we'll see. I don't care if it's 71 plays 70, to be honest, as long as we get the 71, or it's 350 and you play 349. The numbers are irrelevant for me. I think you'll definitely see a wonderful game tomorrow, hopefully an entertaining game. I think you're seeing two teams at their best, fully fit, and two strong teams. So I think either way it's going to be a challenge no matter what the scoreboard says.
Q. There is an impression that after the injury to Irfan Australia got the edge in the fast bowling attack. Do you think that is there?
MICHAEL CLARKE: I don't know.
Q. The last time when you played here for the Test, obviously a very emotional time, but you almost sounded disconsolate after the game about your injury. I know you've been very driven since then. But now that you're here have you allowed yourself at all a small window of self congratulations about going through all that rehab and getting here?
MICHAEL CLARKE: No, not at all. I think every player would have done the same thing that I've done. A lot of players have had injuries through their career and worked their backside off to get back out to the park. I think that's just one part of it. Walking out on the field to represent your country to is a very special feeling. But if you don't perform, you don't get that opportunity. I'm fortunate to be back out in the park, and I need to make sure I'm performing and leading the way as captain of this team.
Updated Date: Mar 19, 2015 10:52:16 IST