Australia’s Test skipper Michael Clarke feels that England are a relatively weaker team without the swashbuckling batsman Kevin Pietersen but has warned his players to stay focused and make sure they are well prepared for the Ashes as they can be.
Michael Clarke led Australian team thrashed England 5-0 in Ashes 2013-14 and that marked the last series for Pietersen, as he was then dropped by ECB on the account of disciplinary issues. Newly appointed Director of English Cricket, Andrew Strauss, also ruled out the batsman’s return to the side due to a “massive trust issue” between both of them.
“There’s probably two sides to me, there’s the personal side where I feel for KP because I get on well with him,” Clarke said. “I’d love to see him back playing cricket for England. His form has been outstanding. He’s still a great player. I know he wants to play. I feel for him on that side.
“On the other side, we go there soon to play against England. Any team without Kevin Pietersen in it, I don’t think is as strong. I think his statistics speak for themselves. He’s been a wonderful player over a long period of time. He’s still in career-best form.”
However, Clarke is vary of the England side and expects a tough challenge from them in their home conditions.
“Playing away from home is your greatest challenge as an international sporting team. England will be tough.
“When we get there, no matter what XI players they put on the field, they’re going to be really tough because know their conditions really well.
“As are West Indies, and it’s really important we stay focused this West Indies tour and have some success there.”
Australia are scheduled to play a three-match Test series against West Indies starting in the first week of June before beginning their defence for the Ashes from July 8. (Check out Australia’s squad for West Indies Tour and Ashes HERE)