'I don't believe it': Michael Clarke's 'token' games dig sparks back

Pace spearhead Trent Boult is incredulous that Michael Clarke has labelled the looming Chappell-Hadlee Trophy series as "token" games, saying his New Zealand team will throw everything into them.

Boult said he was in disbelief that former Australia captain Clarke had predicted small crowds will watch the three-match ODI series starting in Sydney on Friday.

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Clarke slammed the timing of the series which finishes in Bellerive on March 20, making it the latest finish to an international season in Australia outside World Cups since 1979.

The Australian squad returns home from South Africa on Monday giving them just four days to prepare.

Michael Clarke (pictured right) has slammed the Australia schedule with the up-coming ODI series late in the cricket Summer. (Getty Images)

Clarke said there were too many series and suspects the matches were being scheduled to gather revenue.

He can't see the appeal despite the challenge posed by a New Zealand team at full strength and ranked third in the world in the 50-over format.

"Absolute token games of cricket," he said on Big Sports Breakfast.

"To be honest, I can't believe it. I'm a cricket fan through and through, but whoever has made the decision to put these three ODIs on, it's footy season.

"Cricket season is finished. What a great way to finish it with the women winning the World Cup as well.

"I'll be very surprised if anybody turns up to watch those games."

Boult fires back at Clarke

Boult said the silverware alone will provide a motivation to the visitors, who are fresh off ODI and Test series sweeps of India on home soil.

"Michael Clarke doesn't sound too happy for some reason, I don't know what's got under his skin," Boult told journalists at Auckland Airport.

"I don't know why the series is token. There's a good trophy up for grabs between both teams and we can't wait to hopefully lift it.

"Australia's an awesome place to play cricket. They're big stadiums compared to the ones here. I'm sure there will be a crowd there with a few supporters.

Trent Boult of New Zealand reacts during day two of the Second Test match between New Zealand and India at Hagley Oval on March 01, 2020 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

"I'm already ready to hear some sledging and a few other things. It's going to be an exciting series, no matter what some people are saying."

Australia coach Justin Langer has voiced his concern about the mental fatigue arising from a packed international schedule in recent days, after his team suffered a 3-0 loss to South Africa in Johannesburg in their ODI series.

Over the next six months, Australia have white-ball tours of New Zealand and England, a Test series in Bangladesh and home fixtures against the Black Caps, Zimbabwe and West Indies.