Mark Taylor says Clarke may need to `scale back` ODI career to get through Ashes

Sydney: Former Australian opener Mark Taylor has said that Australian captain Michael Clarke might have to scale back his one-day career to get through consecutive Ashes series, even as the ailing Clarke was ruled out of Australia`s first ICC Champions Trophy match against England on Saturday.

Clarke is in doubt for the pre-Ashes tournament with a recurring back problem, and with just more than a month before the first Test at Trent Bridge, no risks will be taken with Australia`s most important player.

Although Taylor said that he understood Clarke`s desire to lead the ODI side towards the next World Cup, he feared that Australia`s Ashes hopes would plummet without Clarke if he is not considered fit till then, adding that the skipper may need to consider scaling back his career if he wants to lead his side towards a successful Ashes series.

According to Taylor, the 32-year-old Clarke can now reconsider his ODI career as he has more or less given up Twenty20 games, adding that Clarke can focus on getting through the Ashes and then think about his future.

Taylor, who struggled with sporadic back problems from the age of 21, admitted that he had returned too soon from surgery in 1996 because he (and the selectors) were desperate for him to lead a tour of India, following which, he suffered the consequences on his health and physical fitness.

Clarke had back issues since he was a teenager, and was floored during the Old Trafford Test of his maiden Ashes tour in 2005, although he had not missed a Test until March this year, when he was forced home early from India.

However, Dr John Orchard, who works with Cricket New South Wales and the Sydney Roosters, shed a positive light on the issue, saying that although conditions such as Clarke`s were unpredictable, there was no reason to consider surgery unless he could no longer function as a batsman.

Stating that he believed that Clarke is capable of playing all 10 Ashes Tests if he is managed cautiously, Orchard said that although Clarke will have a challenge in his hands, he could manage as he has shown great mental toughness in the past, although he hoped that the captain does not have a further worsening of his condition.