Cricket

Clarke faces fitness race

2012-12-18 14:27
Michael Clarke (Getty)

Hobart - Australia captain Michael Clarke is confident he will be fit to play in the second Test against Sri Lanka later this month despite the hamstring injury which curtailed his second innings in the series opener.

Seamer Ben Hilfenhaus, however, has been ruled out of the match after straining his side in the 137-run victory over the tourists which came on Tuesday. Uncapped paceman Jackson Bird has been called into the squad as a replacement.

Clarke has had a brilliant year with the bat, scoring four double centuries and more runs than any other batsman in test cricket with 1 489 at an average of 106.4.

Usman Khawaja, who played his last test in Hobart a year ago, has been put on standby in case the captain fails to prove his fitness for the test, which begins in Melbourne on December 26, but Clarke thinks he will not be needed.

"It's not too bad," Clarke said of the injury he sustained while batting on Monday.

"I've got a bit of time now between now and Boxing Day and I'll be having a lot of treatment, but I'm confident I'll be fit for Boxing Day.

"I'm always going to positive ... I'm really confident that with eight days turnaround, if I do everything in my power and things go my way, I'll be right."

Clarke would be a big loss to Australia should he miss the Melbourne Test, not just for his prolific run-scoring but also for his leadership - especially after Ricky Ponting's recent retirement.

The bowling unit has been ravaged by injury this year with Pat Cummins and James Pattinson already ruled out for the season and Josh Hazlewood, who was included in the squad for the last Test against South Africa, sidelined with a foot injury.

Mitchell Johnson, the 2009 ICC Cricketer of the Year, is most likely to replace Hilfenhaus in the team after making his return to Test cricket in the third match against South Africa in Perth last month.

That would leave Bird, who has been in fine form for Tasmania this season, as 12th man and, with Mitchell Starc also in the attack, two left-armed paceman in the side.

"We'll pick the best bowlers to take 20 wickets in the Test match, if that's two-left-armers then so be it," said Clarke.

"I think Jackson is the leading wicket-taker in first class cricket this season and that played a big part in our decision to bring him into the squad."

Squad:

Michael Clarke (captain) David Warner, Ed Cowan, Phil Hughes, Shane Watson, Mike Hussey, Matthew Wade, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Jackson Bird, Nathan Lyon, Usman Khawaja

Read more on:    australia  |  michael clarke  |  cricket
NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

3 must-do trail runs

If you love trail running, you have to put these on your bucket list.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Climbing the world’s largest stone arch
Awesome extreme sports people
Watch: 2015 Absa Cape Epic route
Watch: Insane road bike skills!
 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs
Vote

Which cricketer is currently of most value to the Proteas' Test team?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.