23 Jun 2015

Black Caps interested in Ashes series

10:05 am on 23 June 2015

The entree is about to finish and the main course is set to start for many English cricket fans.

The Black Caps play their last game of their English tour tomorrow morning - a T20 international at Old Trafford - and the Australians have arrived in England for the Ashes series.

New Zealand cricket captain Brendon McCullum (right) and his England counterpart Alastair Cook share the spoils.

New Zealand cricket captain Brendon McCullum (right) and his England counterpart Alastair Cook share the spoils. Photo: Photosport

Opening batsman Martin Guptill believes the tour will be regarded as a success despite the result of the final match.

The Black Caps shared the two-Test series 1-all before losing 3-2 in a thrilling one-day series that finished with England's dramatic three-wicket victory last weekend.

Guptill identified as individual success stories fast bowler Matt Henry, seamer Ben Wheeler and left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner in the early stages of their international careers.

With the Ashes coming up there will no doubt be plenty of focus on the sledging between the Australians and English.

Guptill says he'll be an interested observer and is sure the series will be competitive.

He says it will be up to individuals to find their own way to get through an Ashes series, and he's sure it will be a great series.

The Australians open their tour this week with a warm up game against Kent as they prepare for the first Ashes Test in a fortnight.

Australian cricket captain, Michael Clarke.

Australian cricket captain, Michael Clarke. Photo: AFP

Having beaten England 5-nil in Australia last time, Australian captain Michael Clarke knows both teams will be ready for the challenge.

Clarke says he and his ageing Ashes squad are determined to prove former fast bowler Jason Gillespie wrong.

Gillespie, who claimed 259 wickets during a 71-Test career for Australia, said Australia's "Dads Army" Ashes squad was tired and old, due to the presence of 37-year-old duo Chris Rogers and Brad Haddin.

He also described Clarke as having a glass back.

Clarke refused to be drawn into a sledging battle with his former teammate, but says he's simply joined the long list of people who they'll be determined to prove wrong this Ashes.

Far from being a hindrance, Clarke says the involvement of several players who are likely on their last hurrah in international cricket was providing additional motivation to become the first Australian team since 2001 to win an Ashes series in England.

Clarke has never been a part of a winning series in England, and has played in losing efforts in 2005, 2009 and 2013.

Clarke says the upcoming Ashes series shaped as the greatest challenge this team had faced.

After Kent, Australia play Essex with the first Ashes Test in Cardiff.

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