India vs Australia: Michael Clarke in limbo as cricket board digs in heels
A bizarre standoff between Michael Clarke and selectors over the Australia captain`s hopes of playing the first test against India next week remained unresolved on Tuesday after the nation`s cricket board dug in its heels.
Melbourne: A bizarre standoff between Michael Clarke and selectors over the Australia captain`s hopes of playing the first test against India next week remained unresolved on Tuesday after the nation`s cricket board dug in its heels.
Selectors named the injured skipper in a 12-man squad on Monday for the Brisbane test with the proviso that he play a two-day tour match against India starting Friday.
Hours later, Clarke, battling to recover from a hamstring injury, said he had already been ruled out by the team`s medical staff for the tour match and said he intended to prove his fitness by playing for his Sydney club on Saturday.
Late on Monday, Cricket Australia (CA) issued a statement siding with selectors, reiterating that Clarke needed to line up for the Adelaide tour match.
"If he is not able to get up for the CA XI game, and given his history with this recurring injury, he will be ruled out of any cricket this week and the first test and our focus will shift to getting him fit to play the second test in Adelaide commencing on Friday 12 December," CA said.
The breakdown in communications between Clarke and selectors follows a public spat between the captain and his coach Darren Lehmann over selections during a one-day tournament in Zimbabwe in August and September.
Clarke was publicly upbraided by Lehmann for criticising the selectors` decision to overlook middle order batsman Steven Smith for a match against Zimbabwe which the Australians lost.
News Ltd media reported that Clarke had lost the standoff and would be ruled out of the test match later on Tuesday. Cricket Australia was unavailable to provide comment.
Although Clarke has missed only one test in his career of 107 matches, the skipper`s determination to rush back from injury has cost him further time on the sidelines and robbed the team of its best tactician.
After suffering a hamstring injury directly before the Zimbabwe tour, Clarke re-injured it as soon as he resumed playing and missed the rest of the tournament along with an entire one-day series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in October.
Clarke last aggravated the injury playing in the opening ODI against South Africa, forcing him to miss the rest of the series while putting his hopes of playing India in doubt.
Although repeatedly urged to quit one-day cricket to prolong his career in tests -- even with the World Cup on home soil looming -- Clarke said he had no such plans.
"My goal is to continue to play for Australia for a lot longer; I love both forms of the game," he told local broadcaster Channel Nine.