AUSTRALIA captain Michael Clarke hit back at Yorkshire first-team coach Jason Gillespie when the tourists arrived in England today.
Clarke dismissed a suggestion from former Ashes winner Gillespie that the current squad are too old to beat England this summer.
In his first press conference ahead of the hotly-anticipated series which begins in Cardiff on July 8, Clarke cut a relaxed figure as he said Australia were feeling good about their preparations.
Gillespie - who at one point appeared set to coach England in this series - labelled Clarke’s side the ‘Dad’s Army’ as he singled out the likes of 37-year-old wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, 37-year-old opener Chris Rogers, 35-year-old paceman Ryan Harris and Clarke himself, who has battled a series of injuries at the age of 34.
“Jason’s entitled to his opinion,” said Clarke at Sunday’s press conference. “Join the queue. I’ve copped criticism my whole career.
“There’s a long list of people who’ve criticised this team. We might just add ‘Dizzy’ to that list of people we continue to prove wrong.”
Clarke, in turn, pointed to the likes of Steve Smith, ranked the world’s top Test batsman at the age of 26, the 28-year-old opener David Warner and 27-year-old spinner Nathan Lyon and said he was happy with the balance in his side.
“A lot of our young players have come a long way over the last few years,” he said. “The senior players deserve a lot of credit for mentoring them and helping them through the tough times, and we’re seeing a lot of benefit from that.
“They will play a big role in this series, their youth and enthusiasm is vital to our squad. The experience of the senior players is crucial too and hopefully we can find that perfect mix and we’re able to have success.”