Tuesday 12 November 2013 

Video - Ashes Preparation Steps Up A Gear

Watch as England fast bowler Steven Finn and Australia captain Michael Clarke talk about their sides' preparations for the upcoming Ashes series.

Australia have named their 12-man squad for the first Test in Brisbane, which begins on 21st November, while England have one final warm-up game to fine-tune their combinations, which begins tomorrow (13th November) against a Cricket Australia Invitational XI in Sydney.

Their biggest concern is the fitness of wicket-keeper Matthew Prior, who will miss the match with a torn calf muscle.

Finn, however, says the team are confident that he will be fit in time for the first Test, but if he isn't then Johnny Bairstow will prove an able deputy.

"Obviously we're still very hopeful that Matt (Prior) will be fit for the first Test match but if he's not Johnny's got a great opportunity to put his hand up," Finn said.

"He's on this tour as a reserve wicket-keeper for a reason because he's very good at it. You know we saw him bat at number six and he showed glimpses in the summer of being an excellent Test match batsman.

"We know that he's a highly skilled performer and these four days are going to be a great opportunity for him to show that he's very good back up for Matt Prior."

He went on to maeke light of the fact that some of their preparations have been hampered by rain, particularly in Hobart where two days of their match against Australia 'A' were lost.

"We're well versed in dealing with the weather coming from England so it's not in the end of the world," he said.

"We've got some good practice done over the last few days, we've got some good practice done when we could when the weather permitted in Hobart so we're not too downhearted about it and I'm sure these four days of the game if the weather's nice we will be able to get out there and set our standards high."

Clarke missed the recent One-Day International series in India to ensure he would recover from a back problem in time for The Ashes and he says he and his team-mates are looking forward to the summer ahead.

"It's obviously a huge summer for us there's no doubt about it but I think as a playing group we're trying to keep a lid on it as much as we can," he said.

"Every opportunity you get to play for Australia is very important and you cherish that every time you walk out onto the ground and this series will be no different.

"The fans are very excited about what lies ahead and I think it's great for cricket that we have the opportunity to play another Ashes series so quickly.

"I think it's great for cricket to see two very competitive teams go head to head and we can't wait for Thursday week."

Video courtesy of SNTV and will be available until 26th November 2013, after which the player at the top of the page will display the latest live video content.

© Cricket World 2013

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