AUSTRALIA cricketers are determined to complete a 4-0 sweep of India but coach Mickey Arthur admits reclaiming the Ashes next year is the ultimate goal.
Arthur says with in-form quicks such as Pat Cummins and James Pattinson on the sidelines through injury and allrounder Shane Watson possibly not returning from his latest injury dramas until next month’s one-day series against India and Sri Lanka, Australia’s depth is just going to get better.
Arthur’s eyes lit up following Australia’s win in Perth when asked if he felt England players were starting to take notice of No.4-ranked Australia’s achievements in establishing a 3-0 lead in the four-match series against No.2-ranked India.
“Judging by the reports that I’ve read, they have started to take a little bit of notice,” Arthur told a news conference.
The new coach says his men have already achieved more than he expected, quickly recovering from an embarrassing drawn series against New Zealand last month.
After regaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Arthur says they still have much work to do as they set about reaching the twin goals of winning back the Ashes and regaining the No.1 Test ranking.
“I’d like the Ashes to probably start in two months time so we’d have Cummins, Watson and Pattinson all available,” Arthur said.
“It is the ultimate goal.
“This Indian series was a world-championship cricket series for us.
“The South African series early next summer is going to be a huge series.
“We need to be able to win those series against opponents ranked higher than us in the world in order to go back into England and challenge.
“Winning back the Ashes is at the forefront of everybody’s mind.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say that we were trying to build a really competitive team to go back and win them in 2013, but not at the detriment of any other series.
“We’re a little bit ahead of where I thought we would be at this point in time.
“There’s a lot of good talent. Competition for places is going to be rife.”
Australia’s only selection concern for the fourth Test in Adelaide starting on January 24 centres on which fast bowler to drop from the four-man attack used on Perth’s bouncy pitch.
South Australia spinner Nathan Lyon is set to return for his first home Test.
Ben Hilfenhaus (23) and Peter Siddle (17) are the leading wicket-takers in the series and one is possibly due for a rest under Cricket Australia’s new rotation policy.
Mitchell Starc took 4-70 in Perth while Ryan Harris claimed 2-67 in his comeback from a hip injury as Australia steamrolled India by an innings and 37 runs.
“A lot will depend on how we look at our one-day squad as well and players who are going to get a proper workload through that,” Arthur said.
Arthur hopes struggling No.3 Shaun Marsh, who has scored 14 runs at 3.50 in the series, gets another chance in Adelaide. – AAP