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Michael Clarke on track for February 21 return

Melbourne: Australia's preparations for next month's ODI cricket World Cup received a massive boost with the announcement that inspirational skipper Michael Clarke is on track for a return from injury by February 21.

Clarke, who underwent a hamstring surgery earlier this month, has been named in Australia's World Cup squad but given time until February 21 to prove his fitness.

The World Cup, to be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand, starts February 14 and Australia will be playing their second pool game, against Bangladesh, on the day Clarke is expected to be match-fit.

"Michael is progressing well in his rehab and is currently running on a regular basis and has commenced batting," Cricket Australia Physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said in a statement.

"He was reviewed by the surgeon in Melbourne on Sunday who was very pleased with his progress. He remains on track for a return to play by 21 February, the date we spoke of when the squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup was announced," he added.

Clarke, who has a nagging back spasms problem as well, is currently keeping himself busy with rehabilitation and television commentary.

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