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Michael Clarke: Pressure on Australian captain 'immense'

Sky Bet make Michael Clarke 7/4 favourite to be Australia's top run scorer in this summer's Ashes series after their 16-man squad was confirmed.


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Clarke leads a relatively inexperienced Australian side for the eagerly-awaited five-match Test series, starting in July.

The Aussie skipper enjoyed a superb 2012 with the bat, averaging 106 from 11 Tests, while his side struggled and arrive in England on the back of a 4-0 whitewash in India.

With Clarke's performances with the bat pivotal to Australia's success this summer, the online betting firm make the tourists 7/2 shots to regain the Ashes with Alaistair Cook's side odds-on to keep a firm grip on the famous urn.

Sky Bet Cricket Trader Damon Blezard admits the pressure will be firmly on Clarke to deliver.

"Since Mike Hussey's retirement the Aussies have been reliant on Clarke's batting and there will be no change this summer so the pressure on him will be immense," he said.

Former vice-captain Shane Watson is a 5/1 shot to be top run scorer along with Middlesex skipper Chris Rogers, who is a surprise inclusion in the 16-man squad at the age of 35.

Rogers, who has only played one Test back in 2008, has vast experience in English conditions could provide some stability at the top of the order.

Left-hander Phil Hughes, who had a torrid time on his last tour of England in 2009, is a 6/1 shot, with newly appointed vice-captain Brad Haddin a 12/1 outsider.

Blezard added: "With the reinstatement of Brad Haddin as wicket keeper and the call up of Chris Rogers they've added experience to their batting and, in Rogers' case, a knowledge of English conditions.

"This makes their batting look more solid than recently in India but they still have it all to do to worry England."