Australia captain Michael Clarke excited by upcoming challenges against South Africa and England

Last Updated: 15/10/12 11:30am

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Michael Clarke: Relishing challenges which lie ahead for Australia

Michael Clarke: Relishing challenges which lie ahead for Australia

Sky Bet

Australia captain Michael Clarke has set his sights on regaining the world number one Test ranking during a "really exciting 12-15 months" of cricket.

The Baggy Greens will host current No.1-ranked South Africa this winter before tackling arch-enemies England in back-to-back Ashes series.

Australia currently sit third in the ICC Test rankings and continue their quest to return to the top in the first of three Tests against Graeme Smith's Proteas in Brisbane on November 9.

Speaking on the challenges which lie ahead of his young side, Clarke said: "I make no bones about the Australian team getting back on top.

"It's a really exciting 12-15 months, as big a time that I will have in my career. I can guarantee you it certainly won't be lack of work ethic that lets the Australian cricket team down."

Clarke admitted that while there was mounting anticipation ahead of the Ashes in England next summer his side needed to first prove their character against a battle-hardened South Africa.

"We have some really tough opposition in South Africa, the number one side in Test cricket, coming to Australia very soon and our main focus is on that," he said.

"England is always a tough series over there, the Ashes away and the Ashes at home, a very exciting 15 months.

"South Africa are as good a team as there is in the world. They are not only strong with the ball but they have a lot of batting. It is really important for us to stay focused on them and not to look too far forward."

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