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Clarke ready to lead country

Michael Clarke is excited about leading Australia against New Zealand in Tuesday's Twenty20 match at the WACA, but admits he is still learning how to best take on the 20-over form of the game.

Australia has played little Twenty20 international cricket outside of this year's World Twenty20 and Clarke is just happy his dream of captaining his country has come true, and will wait and see how his captaincy unfolds.

"It's going to be a new experience for me. Obviously, it is something I've always wanted to do, any young kid dreams of captaining their country. It's going to be a great opportunity and come game time I'll find out what I bring to the team as a leader," Clarke said.

"How much a captain can do in Twenty20 cricket, I'm not too sure, but it's going to be an opportunity for me to find out. It's 20 overs in the field that I can work with the bowlers and hopefully score some runs to help the team win."

The day before the match Clarke is excited, but he knows that will slowly turn to nerves as the game gets closer. While he was excited when he found out he was going to captain the side in the absence of Ricky Ponting, he is not even going to consider taking over the job permanently.

"I was very excited when I first got the call and the nerves haven't sunk in yet. I'm usually nervous before any game, so it's nothing new, but I'm also excited as I know the boys have trained their backsides off since getting to Perth," he said.

"Ricky's our leader and a fantastic one, so there's no reason to think this could become permanent. But I have also seen the side of not performing and getting dropped and part of that was because I took my off the ball to not focus on what was right in front of me, so it's crucial for me to enjoy this challenge but to continue learning and improving my own game to stay in the team."

Clarke doesn't believe the Aussies have played enough Twenty20 cricket to know the best way to tackle it, but now is the time to start preparing to build towards the next World Cup in England.

"We are in the process now of learning how to approach it differently to one-day cricket," he said.

"We are sorting out what the best team for Australia is, where guys are best suited, different power plays and things like that. It's all about trial and error at this point and working out what works and what will lead Australia to winning the 2009 World Championships."

As for the challenge the Black Caps present, Clarke knows they always lift to play Australia and are always dangerous. Clarke is hoping a good Twenty20 performance will lead into the Chappell-Hadlee Series and Australia regaining the trophy.

"They are going to be confident coming off a tough series in South Africa. They always look forward to playing Australia and we will have some tough matches. We are keen to get a Twenty20 win, and then hope that will roll into the one-dayers."

source - sportal.co.nz
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