ICC Champions Trophy

Aussies foster Clarke hopes

2013-06-04 20:48
Michael Clarke (Getty Images)
Cardiff - Australia expect Michael Clarke to face England in their Champions Trophy opener despite the captain travelling to London on Wednesday for specialist treatment on his longstanding back problem.

The injury flared up again before the final Test of Australia's 4-0 series loss in India two months ago, and he has been unable to play a part in their Champions Trophy warm-up games, including Tuesday's 243-run hammering by India in Cardiff.

A decision over Clarke's availability for Saturday's Edgbaston meeting, the first Anglo-Australian clash of an Ashes season, will be taken in due course.

But George Bailey, who led the side in Clarke's absence on Tuesday, said: "It is just precautionary with him. It's his back which is always going to be the issue with Michael.

"He has had some stiffness there in the last couple of days and with such an important tournament coming up we did not see fit to risk him in these games, and it's a reasonably big summer after this tournament as well so it is a case of managing him almost on a day-to-day basis.

"The plan is for him to play Saturday, that is what we are working towards, that he will be available Saturday."

Bailey added: "It would be a huge blow if he is not available, he is our best batsman and our captain and he is someone we need in the side and look forward to having in the side."

Without Clarke, Australia were bundled out for just 65 by India -- five runs fewer than their full one-day international record low total of 70.

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