Cricket Australia Items/news/2013/6/12/batsmen-must-lift-in-clarke-absence

Batsmen must lift in Clarke's absence

UPDATED 12 June, 2013 10:37AM AEST | by Omnisport 2

Stand-in Australian skipper George Bailey says it is up to all the batsmen to step up and cover the void left by the absence of Michael Clarke.

Clarke was ruled out of Australia's crucial ICC Champions Trophy clash with New Zealand at Edgbaston on Wednesday as he continues to struggle with a nagging back problem.

Bailey said the side had missed Clarke's steadying presence in their first-up loss to England, and said the rest of the top order had to lift their game in order to pick up the slack.

"I don't think 'Pup' was ever going to come in and play a game without having trained so the fact that he hadn't rejoined the group as of yesterday, I think everyone assumed what was going on," Bailey said.

"We missed him last game - he's our captain and our best batsman - so we miss him every time he's not with us.

"The challenge is for someone to step up and fill the hole, or numerous people to step up and fill the hole is probably an easier way to cover him.

"My understanding is he's still just trying to fix it day by day."

The Australians have won seven of their past 10 one-day internationals against New Zealand, but New Zealand have beaten England (twice) and Sri Lanka in their past four games to head into the contest as favourites.

And Bailey said his team's good record against the Kiwis would count for nothing when play gets underway on Wednesday.

"None, absolutely none," Bailey said when asked if that record would have any influence on the match.

"When we start the conditions will be different, different pitch, different tournament, different teams. There's no bearing.

"They're in good form - I think their one-day cricket's been pretty consistent for a number of years. Certainly (they're) never to be taken lightly.

"As to favourites, there's only two of us in it."

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 12 June, 2013 10:02AM AEST

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