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Michael Clarke to play first competitive match after surgery

Sydney: Three weeks in advance of his World Cup fitness deadline, Australian captain Michael Clarke will make his eagerly anticipated comeback from hamstring surgery in a Sydney local cricket match on Saturday.

Clarke will play as a batsman only for Western Suburbs at Chatswood Oval in their two-day match of the 20-team Sydney first-grade competition, and is then scheduled to play for a CA XI against Bangladesh in Brisbane on February 5.

Wests have named only a 10-man side at this point, with official confirmation of Clarke's presence in the XI expected tomorrow, according to media reports.

There was earlier a feeling Clarke was going to struggle to meet the strict February 21 cut-off to play against Bangladesh that was imposed on him by selectors when the World Cup squad was first announced. But Clarke has built an incredible momentum with his rehabilitation since going under the knife on December 16.

The Australian skipper has been batting in the nets and running at full pace for some time, however he will not be risked in the field at this early stage. It's unlikely he will field for the CA XI against Bangladesh in Brisbane next week either.

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