Ashes 2013: Australian Test team picks itself, says Michael Clarke

Michael Clarke says Australia’s team for next week’s first Ashes Test against England all but picks itself.
Nanjing Night Net

Selectors will on Tuesday announce the squad for the opening match of the series at the Gabba, and Clarke believes only the one place is up for grabs in the line-up.

That would appear to be a contest between Tasmanians George Bailey and Alex Doolan for the vacant spot in the Australian middle order, although even in that case Bailey is heavily favoured to be picked and make his debut.

Clarke, launching his first book The Ashes Diary at the SCG on Monday, said Australia was in a far better position than they were leading into the first leg of the back-to-back series against England in the winter.

“I think there is no doubt there is a lot more stability in our teams, whether that be the one-day team, the Twenty20 team or the Test team,” Clarke said.

“I would imagine that the majority of the places have been picked for themselves. The exciting thing for where we sit right now is that whether it be batters or bowlers, individual players have stood up. They’ve performed whether it be in the one-day format over in India, the Ryobi Cup and now the Sheffield Shield.

“Guys have really picked themselves which is a really impressive thing for our team. It’s what Darren Lehmann and myself asked the guys to do, to go back to state cricket if you weren’t in the one-day team and make sure you’re taking wickets or scoring runs to be in the front of the selectors’ minds.

“Honestly, I believe if they’re going to pick 12 players I think 11 of them are no-brainers. I think we’re looking at probably one selection, one spot to work out what are first XI or first XII is going to be I guess for Test No.1 at the Gabba.”

One player who wasn’t assured of a Test spot a month ago was David Warner but after four centuries in state cricket – three in the Ryobi Cup and one in the Sheffield Shield- Clarke said he deserved the place he is set to retain in Brisbane.

“Davey is going great. He’s as fit and as strong as I’ve seen him and he’s in a great place off the field,” he said. “What more can he do? He’s scored four hundreds in a month. You can’t push any harder for selection as a batsman than score four hundreds in a month.

“I don’t know what the Test XI is but I think Davey has done everything in his power to be at the front of the selectors’ minds. I’m confident he’s going to have a great summer.”

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