By Tim Clarke 24/04 Updated: 25/04 13:58
MICHAEL Klinger says he has not given up hope of playing for Australia and believes a successful spell at the top of the order with Worcestershire can help him achieve his dream.
The opening batsman was all set for his first taste of county cricket after being named in the Worcestershire side to face Nottinghamshire today (Thursday) in the LV= County Championship curtain-raiser at Trent Bridge.
The 31-year-old arrives in England on the back of a hugely successful campaign with South Australia which saw him average over 46 in the Sheffield Shield and 55 in the limited overs Ryobi One-Day Cup.
He will partner Royals skipper Daryl Mitchell at the top of the order until the end of May when Phil Hughes will pick up the reins from his compatriot.
Klinger is looking to make the most of his two month spell at New Road and believes the challenge of adapting to English conditions can help him achieve his goal of playing for Australia.
"I'm really looking forward to the challenge," Klinger said.
"I want to keep developing my game to the point that I can play at the next level for Australia, which is still a very big goal of mine. I have been able to put some performances together over the last four years and have been doing it consistently."
"There are a lot of one day tournaments coming up in the winter for Australia and over here in England so hopefully I'm in the mix for those back home with the selectors. The Australian side is doing reasonably well at the moment so spots are hard to come by but if I can keep making runs at the right time and play well in English conditions hopefully that will help as well."
Klinger, who stepped down as South Australia captain last month, said he expected the early season conditions in England to pose a real challenge but believes he can adapt his game and help get Steve Rhodes' side off to a successful start.
"The conditions will obviously be very different to what I've experienced. Early in the year the wickets might be a bit more difficult but that makes it an even bigger challenge for me to keep developing my game," he said.
"I have wanted to play county cricket for a few years now but last year I was in the IPL so I couldn't come over."
"Hopefully now though I can grab this opportunity and more importantly help Worcestershire get some early wins under their belt. It's going to be tough in these conditions early on so my role at the top of the order is going to be crucial."
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