Clarke sets sights on Number 1 spot

Australian skipper has the Proteas set firmly in his sights

Australian captain Michael Clarke. Picture: Alicia Pillay/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - After claiming the Ashes yesterday by taking an unassailable 3-0 series lead against England, Australia captain Michael Clarke has his sights now firmly set on wrestling the title of the world's best Test team from the Proteas.

Australia, currently ranked 5th, travel to South Africa early next year for a 3 Test series.

The Proteas take on India, who are ranked second in the 1st of a two Test match series.

Clarke says that winning in South Africa would put them right on track for that goal.

"To be the number one team in the world, you have to be consistent at home and away. Especially in test cricket at the moment, a lot of the top teams are performing well at home, but are not having as much success as they would like away from home.

"That's a big goal for us a team, to continue to play fantastic cricket in Australia, but also to have success away from home. After this series we have a tough challenge in South Africa, but we've got two very important test matches against England first."

Both Clarke and Alistair Cook played in their 100th Test at the WACA with England at the moment facing widespread criticism with their performance. Clarke says though that the last 3 Tests don't define Cook as a captain.

"I know what Alistair feels like at the moment. It wasn't that long ago that I sat in the same position. I don't think it would be fair for me to talk about what changes England should make, but it's certainly fair for me to talk about Alistair Cook as a captain and his team.

"I think they're a very strong team. I think the Australian players deserve a lot of credit for the way we've performed in this series, so I don't want to take anything away from them. I think Alistair Cook is a fantastic leader."

Clarke says that his team are reaping the rewards of a lengthy period of hard work.

"Winning the first test and the second test is just reward for the hard work the guys have put in. That's probably why it feels so special at the moment, because every single day I get to see how hard these guys are training, and the work they're doing on and off the field to become better players and to become a better team."