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Michael Clarke believes England can win next year's World Cup

Alastair Cook and Michael Clarke hold the one-day series trophy

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Australia captain Michael Clarke believes England will be one of the major contenders to win next year's World Cup.

Clarke has just presided over a 5-0 Ashes whitewash of Alastair Cook's side but he reckons they will be a force to be feared in the shorter format of the game at next year's tournament in Australia and New Zealand.

He will get an early chance to further assess their prospects in the forthcoming one-day series which starts in Melbourne on Sunday.

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

"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."

Aiming for top spot

"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."

Clarke on England

There was little between the sides in the ODI series in the summer, which Australia won 2-1 to kick-start their revival, and Clarke has warned his team they cannot afford to be complacent following the Test series.

"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."

Watch England take on Australia in the opening ODI in Melbourne live on Sky Sports 2HD from 3am on Sunday.