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Michael Clarke discounts Aussies warm-up flop

cricket Updated: Feb 16, 2011 13:31 IST

AFP
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Australian vice-captain Michael Clarke has dismissed his team's disappointing form in warm-up games and vowed to shape up in time for the World Cup, starting on Saturday.

The defending champions were walloped by seven-wickets by old foes South Africa in Bangalore on Tuesday for their second defeat on the trot after a 38-run reversal in the opening practice game against India.

Australia, seeking their fourth straight title triumph, open their World Cup campaign against Zimbabwe on February 21 in Ahmedabad.

"Obviously the result did not go the way we would have liked," Clarke told reporters after the match.

"But we all understand that they are practice games. It's more about giving boys an opportunity than about winning.

"A practice game is a practice game. So it's important to maximize the chance to give everybody the opportunity to bat and bowl, and more importantly, to get used to the conditions.

"We play Zimbabwe in a week's time. Everybody had a bit of a run around and has seen the conditions. It's about preparing well for the next six days to be in right shape before the game against Zimbabwe."

Clarke also sought to brush aside his team's vulnerability to spin bowling in the two warm-ups.

"I don't think it is a worry. Spinners are probably going to play a big part in the tournament. All the players have their plans against spin bowling and we have good players of spin.

"But there are obviously areas we need to improve."

Australia are placed in Group A alongside Sri Lanka, Pakistan, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Canada and Kenya with the top four making it to the quarterfinals.