A potential return to the top of the International Cricket Council's one-day rankings and momentum for the Ashes are the two carrots Michael Clarke says are driving him to be fit for next month's tour of India.
Clarke is still upbeat he can overcome chronic back woes in time to depart with the squad at the end of next week.
The subcontinent trip is a bizarre piece of pre-Ashes scheduling that means England will have arrived and completed their first warm-up clash with Western Australia before Australia has finished their Indian commitments.
Australia coach Darren Lehmann will skip next month's tour, and the expectation is the captain will do the same to rest his back before the campaign to regain the urn starts on November 21 at the Gabba.
Given the severe contrast in importance of the two series, why wouldn't he?
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"We're playing the No.1 one-day team in the world and if beat them convincingly I think we go back to being the No.1 one-day team in the world," Clarke said at Cricket NSW's season launch on Thursday.
"That's a good enough reason to want to get over there and play well.
"But any opportunity you get to play for Australia, you look forward to it and want to make the most of it.
"We played some really good one-day cricket in England. I'd love to see that continue in different conditions, and then bring some of that momentum back for the first Test."
Australia hasn't been No.1 in the ICC's rankings for any format since July 2012.
Clarke has been having treatment several times a day since returning to Sydney, and said it was hard to compare the state of his troublesome back with past flare-ups.
The 32-year-old plans to test it out in the next few days before making a final call on the Indian tour.
"I think we're going to push me as far as I can go and see how I pull up. If I pull up fine, great - I'm on the plane," he said.
"If I don't then I might have to have scans.
"I'm going to push myself as hard as I can and try and get right for this series."
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 27 September, 2013 8:57AM AEST