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Clarke out of the IPL, saved for the Ashes

Daniel Brettig

March 26, 2013

Comments: 61 | Text size: A | A

Michael Clarke raises his bat after reaching fifty, India v Australia, 2nd Test, Hyderabad, 1st day, March 2, 2013
Michael Clarke's back and hamstring problems need rest ahead of the Ashes © BCCI
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Australia's captain Michael Clarke will take much-needed rest at home, rather than taking up his likely appointment as captain of the Pune Warriors in the IPL, as the best remedy for the back and hamstring problems that bedevilled his India tour.

Clarke underwent scans soon after his arrival in Sydney and ESPNcricinfo understands these showed that his back trouble was caused not by any new source but the same degenerative disc that has afflicted him since his teenage years.

Complaints of hamstring discomfort were also assessed, with no evidence found of a new injury, rather the accumulated wear of carrying a tender muscle through the tour after he strained it during the home Test series against Sri Lanka.

As a result of these dual problems, Clarke has been advised to rest and then train to strengthen his body rather than linking up with the Warriors. It has been reported that Clarke may be offered as much as A$2 million to lead the IPL franchise after Yuvraj Singh expressed reluctance to be captain, but the risk of fouling up an Ashes campaign that may define his captaincy has been deemed too acute.

"Michael Clarke had scans that confirmed his current lower back injury is an exacerbation of previous issues he has had with his spine," Cricket Australia Chief Medical Officer Justin Paoloni said. "As always, we need to manage this carefully as there are potentially serious consequences with further aggravation.

"He still has pain with basic activities and is not back to full function as yet. He also has a hamstring injury that has been a concern for most of the summer and will complicate his return.

"Michael is having intensive rehabilitation for both his back and hamstring but is still 7-10 weeks away from returning to training and playing. We are confident that it will not affect his Ashes preparation but will know more over the coming weeks."

On his early return to Sydney following his inability to regain fitness in time for the fourth Test of an ignominious series on the subcontinent, Clarke said he would "listen to the experts" regarding his battered and fatigued body and his IPL participation.

"I'll have scans this week and spend plenty of time with the physio, fingers crossed it turns out okay," Clarke said. "Sitting down for 12 hours has made it a little bit stiff, but I'm really confident that I'm in good hands with my physio here in Sydney.

"I'd be silly to make that decision [on the IPL] right now, I think I need to wait on the results, listen to the experts and then make a plan from there. I've had my back issues since I was 17 years of age so this is no different. In regards to my hamstring I hurt it throughout the Australian summer and it has just lingered on. I haven't had the opportunity to get that 100% fit due to how much cricket we've had."

The national team's coach Mickey Arthur, the national selector John Inverarity and the team performance manager Pat Howard have no formal right to bar a player from participating in the IPL, as the tournament's span has been defined by Cricket Australia as a leave period. However they are likely to privately advise various players of their preferences, as was done last year when Shane Watson was counselled to stay out of the event.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by harishk19812007 on (March 27, 2013, 23:00 GMT)

he is no good as t20 player....blessing in disguise for Pune warriors!!!!!

Posted by sonicattack on (March 27, 2013, 9:51 GMT)

@John Verdal ' i thinkaustralia's pace attack is better than england at the moment. pattinson, siddle, harris, starc, bird, cummins, sayers, faulkner and copeland can seriously trouble england in seaming conditions'....well, that's an awful lot of pacemen in one team, are you sure that they are all going to play? And I haven't seen Sayers mentioned in these columns before...is he the new Glenn McGrath?

Posted by Freak7820 on (March 27, 2013, 6:04 GMT)

Great news, we need Clarkey fit for the Ashes.

I think other 'test' players should look at skipping IPL and focusing on the longer version of the game (eg. Warner).

Posted by popcorn on (March 27, 2013, 6:03 GMT)

This is great news! I suggest that the Selectors INTERNALLY watch who is running after Club than Country, and remove them from Selection for Test Cricket, and The Back -to -back Ashes. I will never forget how Doug Bollinger ran after IPL and Champion League money, thereby breaking down on the LAST day of the Mohali Test AT LUNCHTIME - and losing the match for us. Thank God he has NEVER been selected again for Australia. Mike Hussey,who was also underdione for The India Test Series, failed in the Tests, but escaped sacking because of his later performances. The Selectors should strike off Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Shane Watson who are IPL specialists. Steve Smith is the ONLY exception.

Posted by farkin on (March 27, 2013, 3:20 GMT)

doing the right thing by dropping the ipl and the other test players should be looking to do the same

Posted by EverybodylovesSachin on (March 27, 2013, 3:09 GMT)

Clarke will be retired in five years that is maximum.. He is not 100 percent fit in the series..I got back problems for almost 20 years and I know how it is..

Posted by YS_USA on (March 27, 2013, 2:42 GMT)

Redneck, Now you are babying them. They can tour England, India and SA in the same year. What you do not like is their horrible recent performance in India. I could not believe myself watching Watson and Warner perform so badly after watching their super performances in IPL during the last 5 years, but these things happen. Same thing happened to Sahwag and Gambhir. You have to be just patient and wait till Australia produces their own Pujara, Kohli, Jadeja, Ambla, AB, Cook, Prior and they will be back again.

Posted by YS_USA on (March 27, 2013, 2:27 GMT)

Redneck, You are making it easy for them, pull out of IPL and focus on Ashes. The true test of a really talented player is to perform at IPL and also at Ashes and national duties, like Gayle, KP, most of SA players and many more.

Posted by   on (March 27, 2013, 1:14 GMT)

Hot debate here... Well, first of all, I am an Indian, and have seen the pros and cons of IPL over last five seasons. Forget about the Ashes, IPL, everything; there's the thing called "National Duty". These players get paid as they are international Heros, not because they play Tests or ODIs or T20s for that matter. If you are not 100% fit, avoid anything else than national duty! I remember Sehwag missing T20 wc as he kept his injury a "secret" during IPL; he got the money for playing, no doubt but two years down the where does he stand? I also admit that WI cricketers are coming back to Cricket due these leagues only, but are they really national players? How many of them decided to be "out of Contract" to play IPL??? No doubt, IPL is a great idea to give everyone what he wants - viewers - the entertainment, players - the money, broadcasters - the revenue, etc but one should not opt out of his "national duties" or play with injuries, that could really end the career for some money...

Posted by   on (March 27, 2013, 1:13 GMT)

people starting to predict england will win 4-0 or 5-0 in the ashes series too soon. australia have a better chance of beating england than india in india. the england side is not as good as people think. newzealand outplayed england in the current series . england depend a lot on cook and trott in batting and anderson and swann in bowling. its highly unlikely both will be fit for the back to back ashes series. i thinkaustralia's pace attack is better than england at the moment. pattinson, siddle, harris, starc, bird, cummins, sayers, faulkner and copeland can seriously trouble england in seaming conditions. i think australia can win the ashes as long as their batsmen can score runs. khawaja, clarke , watson and warner have to fire .

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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