Australia ready for Ashes

Australian captain Michael Clarke says the team will do everything to bring the urn down under.

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SYDNEY - Australia are rightly underdogs for the upcoming Ashes series in England but will do everything they can to bring the coveted urn back home, skipper Michael Clarke said on Wednesday.

There was more talk of aspiration than expectation as the Australia squad officially bid farewell to the country in a ceremony at Sydney airport before their departure for England at the weekend.

England hold the Ashes after a convincing 3-1 series win in 2010-11 and Australia's recent 4-0 drubbing in India has not persuaded many that they have much chance of wresting back the trophy.

"I think it's a fair indication of where both teams are at," Clarke said of the underdogs tag.

"They have a lot of experience…Our recent series in India wasn't nearly as good as we would have liked so I accept that we are the underdogs but we'll be doing everything in our power to have success.

Clark said their goal is to win the series, but acknowledged it's going to be tough.

While Australia's pace attack will be licking their lips at the prospect of bowling on English wickets, the batsmen had a torrid time in India and, despite his own excellent form over the last two years, Clarke said they all must improve.

"The batters know we didn't perform as well as we needed, we didn't make enough runs and we are certainly accountable for our performances," he said.

"We know that if we can bat well as a unit, we will give our young, talented fast bowlers every opportunity to take 20 wickets."

Opening batsman David Warner arrives back from India, where he has been playing in the Indian Premier League, later on Wednesday to face disciplinary charges for a Twitter rant aimed at two journalists.


Clarke said there would be no constraints on the use of social media by players as a result of the incident and he backed Warner to have learned his lesson.

"There's certainly been no talk of stopping players using social media; I think it's a fantastic way to give back to fans."

"I think Davey has great potential to be a leader of the Australian cricket team. He's a wonderful guy and wonderful player.

"He's learned from this... and if he continues to grow as he has over the last few years, there's no reason why he hasn't got the potential to captain Australia one day."

There was good news on the injury front with pace bowler Ryan Harris saying he felt better that he expected after the latest injury to have afflicted him, an Achilles problem.

Clarke's own fitness has also been in the spotlight after he missed the last test in India due to the recurrence of a long-term back problem.

"My body's going pretty well at the moment," he said. "I've had this six or seven weeks to work on my rehab, work on my strength for my hamstring and my back and, touch wood, I think I'm fully fit at this stage.

"You always have niggles... (but) I'm confident I'm as fit as I can be to perform at my best."

Australia will defend the Champions Trophy in England next month before the Ashes series, which begins at Trent Bridge on July 10.