Australia v England: Michael Clarke tips opponents to compete for next year's World Cup crown

Australia captain backs England to be one of many teams in contention for success ahead of five-match post-Ashes series

Captain Michael Clarke believes England will be one of the major contenders to win next year's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Clarke has spent the majority of the winter undermining Alastair Cook's side during the 5-0 Ashes defeat, but he believes his opposite number could yet enjoy far more happier times in the Antipodes.

Despite the chaos that has enveloped England, Clarke believes they have a 50-over side to be feared ahead of their series opener in Melbourne on Sunday.

The 32-year-old expects they will show that over the course of the next five games - at venues that will host the World Cup in just over a year - and has warned his side that their own credentials will be significantly tested.

"England has got a very good one-day line-up," he said.

"They've got some really destructive batters and plenty of pace and bounce with their bowling as well.

"This is an important series because we will be playing in the same facilities that we will play the World Cup in, the same pitches, and against an opposition that is going to play a huge role.

"I think England is going to be extremely tough to beat in the World Cup.

"This is going to be great preparation. We will have to be at our best."

Australia sit second in the International Cricket Council's one-day rankings and just marginally above England.

Both teams could finish the series as the world's top-ranked 50-over team - albeit they would need the right set of results in this series as well as in India's concurrent five ODIs in New Zealand.

There was little between Australia and England in the ODI series in the summer, which Clarke's side won 2-1 to kick-start their revival.

That result continued a trend that has seen the team that has won the past four Ashes then lose the one-day series.

Clarke is wary of that fate befalling his side and warned they can ill afford complacency.

"For the guys who do play Test cricket, it's quite easy to take your foot off the pedal," he said.

"I said before the last two Test matches that we as a Test team had a lot to play for because we were ranked fifth at the time and we want to get back to number one.

"I say the same about this one-day unit. We know we are not the number one team in the world at this stage. That is our goal.

"If you want to be a part of this team, you cannot afford to take your foot off the pedal.

"I think it's really important we continue to play good, positive cricket."

Clarke named his starting XI for Sunday's match at the MCG a day early with James Pattinson and Shaun Marsh the players to miss out, while Mitchell Johnson is being rested after his Ashes exertions.

That means David Warner will make a return to the ODI set-up for the first time since his controversial Champions Trophy last June.

Warner aimed a punch at Joe Root in a Birmingham bar after Australia's group-stage defeat - an incident which prompted him to lose his place in all formats before a return to form this winter.

Clarke confirmed Warner would open the batting alongside Aaron Finch with Shane Watson - who hit a match-winning unbeaten 161 when these sides last met at the MCG in 2011 - at three.

"It's just what we feel is the best XI for this first game," Clarke said.

"I think the wicket looks really good, we think it's going to be a little bit two paced. We think this is the best team for this first match."

Clarke revealed he had no plans to rest during the series, although that is a decision that could be made over his head.

The right-hander's chronic back problem twice flared last year - resulting in him missing the Champions Trophy and the ODI tour of India.

"I feel good at the moment. That will be decided by the people well and truly above me," he said.

"If they think I should miss a game then I'll have that conversation with (coach) Darren Lehmann and the selectors.

"But right now I'm really keen to help this team win this one-day series."

PA

Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sportThe city’s fight for justice after Hillsborough is embodied in Steven Gerrard, who's poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
Environment
People are buying increasing numbers of plants such as lavender to aid the insects
environmentGardeners rally round the endangered bumblebee
Sport
Australia's Dylan Tombides competes for the ball with Adal Matar of Kuwait during the AFC U-22 Championship Group C match in January
sportDylan Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011
Arts & Entertainment
Customers browse through Vinyl Junkies record shop in Berwick Street, Soho, London
musicBest exclusives coming to an independent record shop near you this Record Store Day
News
Ida Beate Loken has been living at the foot of a mountain since May
newsNorwegian gives up home comforts for a cave
Extras
indybest10 best gardening gloves
Arts & Entertainment
tvIt might all be getting a bit much, but this is still the some of the finest TV ever made, says Grace Dent
Arts & Entertainment
Comedian Lenny Henry is calling for more regulation to support ethnic actors on TV
tvActor and comedian leads campaign against 'lack of diversity' in British television
News
Posted at the end of March, this tweeted photo was a week off the end of their Broadway shows
people
News
peopleStar to remain in hospital for up to 27 days to get over allergic reaction
Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit