Oz Ashes hopes hit further with Clarke rule out of CT game against Kiwis

Updated: Jun 12, 2013, 09:46 AM IST

London: Australia`s Ashes preparations have come under threat after captain Michael Clarke looks set to miss the entire ICC Champions Trophy tournament after being ruled out of the game against New Zealand on Wednesday.

Due to his long-standing back injury , Clarke also remains a major doubt for Australia`s final group match against Sri Lanka.

Although Clarke holds the key to Australia`s Ashes challenge this summer as their stand out batsman and talismanic leader, but he may well end up playing with pain killing injections to get him through.

According to team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris, Clarke is continuing to have intensive treatment in London, and while he is making good progress, he has not improved sufficiently enough to play the game against New Zealand.

Kountouris added that the medical staff would continue to monitor Clarke`s progress and determine his availability for next week`s final group game against Sri Lanka.