Australia news October 3, 2013

'No guarantee' Clarke will be fit for Brisbane

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Australia's captain Michael Clarke has conceded he is far from guaranteed to be fit in time for the first Ashes Test in Brisbane next month, as his chronic back trouble grows increasingly stubborn.

Having been ruled out of the limited overs tour to India that precedes the home series against England, Clarke showed unusual pessimism about his fitness when discussing his chances of returning to full strength and flexibility in time for the Gabba.

There were grim tidings also from James Pattinson, who had originally hoped to recover from a back stress fracture he picked up in England in time to contend for a Brisbane pace berth.

Instead he admitted he was now well behind that schedule, and was looking at a place in the Perth Test as one of four fast bowlers as his earliest chance to resume in Test matches.

Since returning home from England, Clarke has undergone daily treatment on his back, and between now and the start of the Ashes the Australian team physio Alex Kountouris is readying himself to make frequent flights from Melbourne to Sydney to spend as much time as possible with his most pivotal patient.

However the process of constant work to strengthen Clarke has been progressing slowly, and there is always the danger of a relapse such as the one that curtailed his Champions Trophy campaign before the Ashes in England.

"There's certainly no guarantee at this stage," Clarke said at the national team's pre-season camp in Sydney. "It's hard for me to say that because I'm trying my best not to look at it like that. I'm always positive and if they ask me, I'll say I'll be fit in a week's time. But you ask Alex who knows me very well, and he'd say there'd be doubt I won't be right. Making sure I'm doing everything I can to give myself the best chance ... plenty of rehab and recovery getting strength back in the areas that support my back. It's a lot of hard work but I'm willing to do the work to make sure I'm right for that first Test.

"Where I sit right now is I don't know when I'll be back playing cricket. We have no idea how long it's going to take. But in Australia I've got the physio in Sydney I've been working with since I was 17, I've got the machine, the medics machine that's helped me stay on the park for as long as I have through my career, and I'm in consistent contact with Alex Kountouris who will fly back and forth from Melbourne to Sydney to see me and make sure I'm improving."

Clarke's ideal preparation for the Gabba will be to regain full mobility in time to play in the Sheffield Shield matches scheduled to lead-in to the Ashes, granting him the chance to gain confidence and batting form before facing England's pacemen once more. "My best preparation has always been to play cricket and score runs doesn't matter what form of the game," Clarke said. "If I'm playing games of cricket and performing that helps me take it into one day cricket or test cricket. I probably train harder than what you have to do in game so playing is probably easier for me mentally and physically with the work that goes into it."

Pattinson had fought back tears when his Ashes campaign in England was ended during the Lord's Test by back pain that was revealed to be a fracture. While speaking more happily with the benefit of a few months in the recovery room, he is yet to resume running let alone bowling, and remains a long distance from fitness.

"I'm not even running yet which is not great," Pattinson said. "I get a scan in two weeks time which is a 12 week scan to determine whether the fracture has healed or not. Go from there, get results back from scan start running, should be fine. My back feels fine at the moment, I have no pain. Just a bit of a long process. I'm probably a month off bowling.

"I won't be back for the first Test, don't think I'll be right for the second ... but all things going well I could push for that WACA Test. If it's a bit green we could play four quicks up there, but I'll know more when I start bowling. I'm probably rushing a bit if I'm trying to get back for that first Test and last thing I want is for that to happen again and push my body too far and it's hard enough going through it once without going through it again. Long term is where I'm looking."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY BackStreetBowler on | October 3, 2013, 5:40 GMT

    This is a bit of a dampener. I was hoping to see a full strength Aussie side putting up a strong fight to put the Ashes loss behind them. Having said that, they will be a stronger side the moment they start believing in themselves. There is definitely no dearth of talent in the Aussie camp. Some hard talking by Steve Waugh should set them up nicely.

  • POSTED BY goldeneraaus on | October 3, 2013, 1:16 GMT

    I am one of many who believed that Australia would be more competitive at home, but this was based on Clarke and Pattinson being fully fit, this news is tremendously poor for Australian cricket. Clarke may well be fit but will no doubt be limited and Pattinson's diagnosis sounds very grim indeed. With Starc ruled out already, Australia will be relying heavily on the frail Harris and the very mercural Mitchell Johnson... bad signs that our one strength from England is falling apart

  • POSTED BY on | October 9, 2013, 16:04 GMT

    well ,,, even clarke plays we don't care ...

    we will wash out all the game.. go ahead cook... KP. bell///

  • POSTED BY on | October 5, 2013, 22:33 GMT

    Who cares!!!

    1st Test is in Brisbane.

    Australia's bowling line up .... Harris, Johnson, Cutting, McDermott.

    Sounds like fun to me.

  • POSTED BY on | October 4, 2013, 20:23 GMT

    Milhouse79 You can only play ELEVEN players in a test side, what's the point of having 23???

  • POSTED BY Yes.Valkyries on | October 4, 2013, 19:12 GMT

    Clarke has also a good and strong team but he destroys the word "TEAM".

  • POSTED BY Jaffa79 on | October 4, 2013, 17:56 GMT

    @ hhillbumper. England were lucky. Australia have 23 blokes who can bloke 185kph.

  • POSTED BY hhillbumper on | October 4, 2013, 13:27 GMT

    @ electric loco. Yep England to lose 5-0 because Steve Waugh said it would happen. This was the same Steve Waugh who started the myth of the Baggy Green and the same Steve Waugh who was a poor captain with a good team.The difference between him and Clarke is that Clarke has a poor team.

    All the hype and we know England will get beaten by the worlds fastest bowlers ever.

  • POSTED BY Selassie-I on | October 4, 2013, 13:04 GMT

    Oh dear, this will be bad news for the Aussies, if Clarke isn't fit then that's no world class players left in the team at all.

  • POSTED BY oval77 on | October 4, 2013, 11:32 GMT

    @Cloudmess. Well said. It's interesting to compare the number of media announcements the Australian set up (from coach all the way down) make, compared to almost any other team, especially in the build up to a series. The old notion of 'total mental disintegration' and 'mind games' needs to be extracted from the Australian team culture for good as part of the rebuilding process.

  • POSTED BY BackStreetBowler on | October 3, 2013, 5:40 GMT

    This is a bit of a dampener. I was hoping to see a full strength Aussie side putting up a strong fight to put the Ashes loss behind them. Having said that, they will be a stronger side the moment they start believing in themselves. There is definitely no dearth of talent in the Aussie camp. Some hard talking by Steve Waugh should set them up nicely.

  • POSTED BY goldeneraaus on | October 3, 2013, 1:16 GMT

    I am one of many who believed that Australia would be more competitive at home, but this was based on Clarke and Pattinson being fully fit, this news is tremendously poor for Australian cricket. Clarke may well be fit but will no doubt be limited and Pattinson's diagnosis sounds very grim indeed. With Starc ruled out already, Australia will be relying heavily on the frail Harris and the very mercural Mitchell Johnson... bad signs that our one strength from England is falling apart

  • POSTED BY on | October 9, 2013, 16:04 GMT

    well ,,, even clarke plays we don't care ...

    we will wash out all the game.. go ahead cook... KP. bell///

  • POSTED BY on | October 5, 2013, 22:33 GMT

    Who cares!!!

    1st Test is in Brisbane.

    Australia's bowling line up .... Harris, Johnson, Cutting, McDermott.

    Sounds like fun to me.

  • POSTED BY on | October 4, 2013, 20:23 GMT

    Milhouse79 You can only play ELEVEN players in a test side, what's the point of having 23???

  • POSTED BY Yes.Valkyries on | October 4, 2013, 19:12 GMT

    Clarke has also a good and strong team but he destroys the word "TEAM".

  • POSTED BY Jaffa79 on | October 4, 2013, 17:56 GMT

    @ hhillbumper. England were lucky. Australia have 23 blokes who can bloke 185kph.

  • POSTED BY hhillbumper on | October 4, 2013, 13:27 GMT

    @ electric loco. Yep England to lose 5-0 because Steve Waugh said it would happen. This was the same Steve Waugh who started the myth of the Baggy Green and the same Steve Waugh who was a poor captain with a good team.The difference between him and Clarke is that Clarke has a poor team.

    All the hype and we know England will get beaten by the worlds fastest bowlers ever.

  • POSTED BY Selassie-I on | October 4, 2013, 13:04 GMT

    Oh dear, this will be bad news for the Aussies, if Clarke isn't fit then that's no world class players left in the team at all.

  • POSTED BY oval77 on | October 4, 2013, 11:32 GMT

    @Cloudmess. Well said. It's interesting to compare the number of media announcements the Australian set up (from coach all the way down) make, compared to almost any other team, especially in the build up to a series. The old notion of 'total mental disintegration' and 'mind games' needs to be extracted from the Australian team culture for good as part of the rebuilding process.

  • POSTED BY ScottStevo on | October 4, 2013, 10:13 GMT

    @landl47, 24, 26...whatever! They're all mid twenties, so not exactly old, are they, and most have played around 10 tests - so yes, they're inexperienced? Without Clarke our team will desperately be lacking senior players so I can understand why some would look at older heads. Nonetheless, I know your point is to prove that Aus are looking at old guys because there's no young talent coming through. Are you saying that these guys are 26 so they're already too old? BTW Hughes IS part of our test squad.The other 2 names that aren't part of the squad very well could be as we certainly won't be selecting from the others mentioned.

  • POSTED BY electric_loco_WAP4 on | October 4, 2013, 7:35 GMT

    With or w/o Clarke the result will be 4/5-0 win for Aus as this struggling Eng team of dad's army will have no chance vs Johnson and co. esp Mitch @ 95mph on the pacy, bouncy pitches . Besides, even Steve Waugh said this Eng team aren't that good and are on par with the Aussies at best but w/o the home adv. in coming Ashes.

  • POSTED BY on | October 4, 2013, 6:56 GMT

    Aussie selection is like English selection in late 1980s and whole of 1990s. Players by the dozen get caps only to fritter away. It smacks of desparation. Someone needs to get to bottom of why so many fast bowlers get stress fractures. Its getting to be comical now.

  • POSTED BY scarab666 on | October 4, 2013, 6:00 GMT

    Time to give Clarke the flick, his troublesome back has done nothing but cause the national team disruption and we need a captain who will be there. It should be noted that his back trouble seems to escalate only when Australia are being beaten.....hmmmm.....funny that ! We need to do what both England and South Africa did and put faith in a new young captain for the future.

  • POSTED BY Little_Aussie_Battler on | October 4, 2013, 3:12 GMT

    Just praying Clarke stays injured. It would remove the dark cloud that has been hanging over our test team since they made this bloke captain.

    Stay away Pup for your countries sake!

  • POSTED BY cricketsubh on | October 4, 2013, 2:50 GMT

    australian selection in last 1.5 years have been out of this world last summer whan they have the chance to be no 1 test team in the world they rested siiddle and hilfenhus for the last test vs s.a.and the pick player like rob quiny for the test .they rested so many players in odis in last summer without any regin behind it.and they pick odi and t20 player like smith.maxwell.dhuoherty.henrices for test tour of india in the start of the year .in ct2013 they pick inexpereance players like countanal.mith marsh and out of from players like wade .warner and selector also not repace clarke .and now they rested clarke.this selection policy of aus need to be changed.

  • POSTED BY Mary_786 on | October 4, 2013, 2:48 GMT

    Clarke is an expert in managing this condition which he has had since he was 17. I think he will be fine and back in time for Brisbane. The younger batsman who i think will stand up with him on our pacier pitches will be Warner, Khawaja and Smith. Warner and Khawaja play pace well but it will be a challenge for Smith who is a better player of spin.

  • POSTED BY Happy_hamster on | October 4, 2013, 1:39 GMT

    gsingh7 on (October 3, 2013, 19:25 GMT) Maybe they should cancel some of the more difficult upcoming series and arrange a tournament against much weaker opposition at home to ensure the ranking position doesn't suffer; but Aussie isn't a scaredy cat or full of excuses and denial, and that is from a man of England. Clarke will play some of the series if not all, missing the utterly meaningless ODI series before the Ashes was always going to happen.

  • POSTED BY Shaggy076 on | October 4, 2013, 0:11 GMT

    Milhouse79, As you seem to judge every player on two games of cricket you forgot to mention Patterson is also a better bat than Cook and Trott.

  • POSTED BY cloudmess on | October 4, 2013, 0:03 GMT

    And I agree with whoever said that this thing about Clarke's injury is just mind-games. Australia seem to be so good at this now, making all these big statements in the media designed to confuse and wrong-foot their hapless, gullible Pommie opponents - except that England carry on winning the test matches anyway. The current malaise in Australian cricket (and Clarke's captaincy perfectly exemplifies this) is that it has become all show and no substance.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | October 3, 2013, 23:55 GMT

    @ScottStevo: The Australian side is packed with inexperienced 24-year olds? There's only one 24-year old in the Aus test side from the list you set out, Steve Smith. Hughes was dropped after the second Ashes test, Warner and Khawaja are both 26 (both will be 27 this year) and Maddinson and Burns have never been anywhere near a test squad, let alone packing the test side.

    England has a strong group of young players coming through. Root, Stokes (both 22) Ballance and Bairstow (both 23) are in the Ashes squad. James Taylor (23) has already played test cricket and has a FC average of 48. James Vince (22) has 10 FC centuries and scored 1100 runs at an average of 60 in the county championship this year. You might remember Jos. Buttler (23) scored 75, 65* and 42 in his 3 innings in the ODI series. Then there are the real youngsters- Lees (20), Thakor and Sibley (both 18) All have FC tons- Lees and Sibley double hundreds.

    I'm looking forward to seeing these young players mature.

  • POSTED BY OneEyedAussie on | October 3, 2013, 23:52 GMT

    Clarke's back problem has been pretty constant throughout his career - so why all the attention paid to it since the Indian tour- because the team is losing? But, it will almost certainly be business as usual. Clarke will struggle through 1-2 FC games before the Ashes and then play at Brisbane with restricted movement. He'll look awkward but still score a few hundreds in the series. He'll then miss a few ODI games and rinse/repeat before the SA tour.

  • POSTED BY on | October 3, 2013, 23:16 GMT

    I think the team will do just fine without Clarke.

  • POSTED BY thegreatwhiteduck on | October 3, 2013, 19:51 GMT

    Mind games directed at England! Pay no attention! Clarke will line up at Brisbane.

  • POSTED BY gsingh7 on | October 3, 2013, 19:25 GMT

    australian cricket is on a downward spiral due to retirements of once in a generation of world class players.. and without their best and only world class batsman in 7 odi series vs india and ashes vs england ,i cud see more losses for them. after that they play best test side sa . i wonder what will be rankings of australia in all formats after they finish their sa tour. not much better than present rankings ,i guess.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | October 3, 2013, 18:11 GMT

    Only clark is not enough for AUS. need more clark like confidence and technically sound also big heart. bowling dept. is ok and good going.

  • POSTED BY ScottStevo on | October 3, 2013, 16:49 GMT

    @landl47, mainly due to the fact that our batting line up is already packed full of inexperienced 24 year olds. Watson, Rogers and Clarke are our senior players and then we have 3 young guys coming from Warner, Smith, Hughes, Khawaja, Maddinson, Burns. Nonetheless, I agree with you in that Hussey M/D, Hodge, Katich are all too old or retired! These guys aren't going to be in the reckoning for a spot anyway. How many 20 somethings do England have coming through? It's true our recent record isn't great and losing 4-0 in India was a horror series for many reasons. I rate losing to England 3-0 much worse as I feel we should've got a lot more out of that series, probably a little unlucky with the weather not to have taken 1 win, but the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th test matches we were in strong positions and should've achieved more. A few wins and all this talk of poor systems, lack of development, bare cupboards, etc., etc., goes flying out the window as people cease looking to reason failures.

  • POSTED BY CricketChat on | October 3, 2013, 13:53 GMT

    Since Clarke is no longer certain due to chronic back problem, Aussie selectors should hand the captaincy reins to someone who is younger and likely to play based on form and fitness. Clarke can play when fit as there is always going to be a middle order batting spot given their batting performances of late

  • POSTED BY kevaldedhia813 on | October 3, 2013, 13:12 GMT

    Clarke has to give some time to himself, before he start his second innings. In and out of side will ruin his legacy from being a great player.

  • POSTED BY shahbazhussain on | October 3, 2013, 13:03 GMT

    When are they gonna realize that too much T20 is causing fitness issues? I guess every top class player is facing fitness issues. Since the exposure of ODI and now T20 during past decade has caused lot of players go through consistent fitness problems. The great Waseem Akram, was the one who played more than 8 years of his last part of his legendary career having Diabetes and was successfully bowling without any serious injury. But whats happening to modern day bowlers and batsmen? I bet too much cricket is causing a lot of issues. The greed for money is causing these fantastic players retire before time. So sad! I dont think Clarke will be able to make another year. I am sensing now that 2013 is his last year in his career.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | October 3, 2013, 12:52 GMT

    It's a sign of the times that no-one (except RajivSrinivasan Ramasamy, whose XI is bizarre to say the least) has suggested a single young player if Clarke's not fit. Bailey, Katich, David Hussey, Hodge, Mike Hussey... all except Bailey are over 35 and Hodge and Mike Hussey have retired.

    Burns seemed to go backwards this year, leaving the only promising young batsman in the Australian FC scene as Nic Maddinson. Aus is having a tough time now, with a record of 0-2-7 in their last 9 tests. What will happen if Clarke's not fit doesn't really bear thinking about.

    Let's hope among the 19-20 year olds there are some good young prospects.

  • POSTED BY Sir_Ivor on | October 3, 2013, 12:24 GMT

    I wish Michael Clarke would do some back related Yoga seriously for a month and he will be fit for the Ashes. Unfortunately Yoga is probably considered too obscurantist by most people in the West. So they resort to the modern methods of dealing with such chronic ailments. It is this Gym culture which is to blame for the many kinds of injuries that keep happening to the fast bowlers of today. In the olden days one never heard of good bowlers being injured. Yes I will agree that there were fewer games played in those days.I remember the West Indian greats never got injured. The "Big Bird" Garner once said that that used to because they ran most of the time and bowled when were not running ! I wish Clarke and Pattinson are fit because they will be crucial for the Ashes. A fully fit Pattinson can give the English batting a lot to worry about. It is the same with Staarc. Together and fully fit they could make it a good Ashes series.But Australia should have ready replacements.

  • POSTED BY Beertjie on | October 3, 2013, 12:12 GMT

    As a life-long pessimist, I'm not entirely buying this. Clarke is just being cautious. As for Pattinson I never expected him back before Perth anyway, so hope he's one of four fast bowlers there. He'll be needed by then because Ryano probably won't last. I'm not a MJ fan, but he'll be needed unless Hazlewood starts showing exceptional form. If he's not up to it a possible 4 prong line-up for the WACA may be Siddle, Bird, Faulkner and Pattinson. Horses for courses is the way to go

  • POSTED BY cloudmess on | October 3, 2013, 11:48 GMT

    I'd still expect Australia to be more competitive down under, even without Clarke and Pattinson. England's bowlers have been struggling on flat pitches for the last year or so (though still very effective where there is movement or turn), and Australia have the potential to rack up some big scores. But you Aussies also need to get real with yourselves - I don't think Clarke is a great captain. He continues to hold the reigns I think primarily because he is your best batsmen, and also good at making a show of being proactive in the field. But being positive in the field, and being a good tactician, are not the same thing. I also don't think he can man-manage for toffee, and he has helped create a terrible atmosphere in the dressing-room where promising players are unable to find their potential and senior players are forced into premature retirements.

  • POSTED BY Shaggy076 on | October 3, 2013, 11:16 GMT

    I have no doubt Clarke will be ready for the first test, from what I read he seems confident but just relaying the cautious approach of his physio. Disapponting Pattinson wont be ready but Harris, Siddle, Bird and JOhnson are more than capable. Pattinson will be the only injury from our best XI and we have enough cover for him.

  • POSTED BY Jaffa79 on | October 3, 2013, 11:04 GMT

    I am genuinely disappointed that Pattinson is not fit. I hoped he'd 'take revenge' on us like he did this past summer! Still, he is a better bat than Hughes or Cowan, so he could still play as a batter?

  • POSTED BY crockit on | October 3, 2013, 10:44 GMT

    Right now Siddle, Harris and Johnson is full strengh more or less. Admittedly Cummins could arguably be one of best three but when fit but probably Starc and Pattinson are next rung. Of course Johnson is still capable of disproving this assessment by bowling to the left and then to the right etc...

  • POSTED BY PrasPunter on | October 3, 2013, 10:21 GMT

    How he wasted time in England playing those meaningless ODIs is beyond me !! Shouldn't CA have taken a precautionary call and asked him to fly out of Eng after the tests were done ?? Not doing Aus chances any good !!

  • POSTED BY on | October 3, 2013, 10:10 GMT

    good opportunity for joe burns, though a big shoe to fill. the selectors should discard steve smith and Watson and play rogers, silk, cosgrove,burns,bailey,fergusson and the sole wicket keeper would be Haddin. the bowler should be Hazellwood,coulternile,cummins if fit else go for jhonson and the spinner should be lyon.

  • POSTED BY on | October 3, 2013, 10:07 GMT

    I agree with Simon Eagles on the possibility of Clarke forgoing ODI cricket to prolong his Test career. His back seems to have got quite a bit worse this past year than it has been for much of his earlier Australian career, and it would be a shame to see him have to retire earlier than he should due to playing too much cricket. Give him a break for those meaningless 5-7 match ODI series, and keep him fit for the five-day stuff. Australia's resurgence may depend on it.

  • POSTED BY Ozcricketwriter on | October 3, 2013, 9:52 GMT

    George Bailey, T20 captain, ODI captain, best performer in both formats for Australia in batting for past 2 or 3 years is for some reason not considered for a chance at the test level? Faf du Plessis was supposed to be a limited overs specialist too.... It is worth giving him a shot. If it fails, it won't cost that much. But if it succeeds, it could be huge.

  • POSTED BY ScottStevo on | October 3, 2013, 9:32 GMT

    Losing Clarke would be a massive blow to the Aus team. At this stage, it's still unclear whether he will or won't be missing, so no point worrying about it until it's confirmed. For those saying Brad Hodge should return based on some T20 stuff they've seen, they need to understand he retired from FC cricket a few years ago! Not saying he couldn't do a job, he probably could, but it would seem odd selecting a player who has retired. May as well get Ricky back! We should have enough fast bowlers to cover Pattinson and Starc - Siddle, Harris, Johnson will be okay. These first few shield matches will be interesting as a few big scores from some 'fringe' players may earn them a huge opportunity to get and cement themselves a spot in the test XI...As for giving Clarke the boot - this is potentially the most stupid thing suggested on these forums. Or to take away his captaincy to prolong his batting career - seriously?! How?! @BatsmanWhoBowls - yeah, he's staying home to practice, not injury!

  • POSTED BY on | October 3, 2013, 9:20 GMT

    My Playing Eleven for the Ashes Series.... Warner, Rogers, Watson,Brad Hodge,Clarke,Steve Smith ,Haddin,Johnson ,Siddle,Hilfenaus, Harris . Smith , Hodge, Warner can be used for Spinning Options

  • POSTED BY on | October 3, 2013, 9:20 GMT

    I strongly feel, every country should plan their playing schedule. Not every tournament is important,,,

  • POSTED BY ReverseSweepIndia on | October 3, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    Baily should come in team even when Clark is playing, and if they need replacement, I will suggest a name Brad Hodge. Age should not an argument considering Rogers is there too and he did pretty well in Eng. I know its short term plan, but if Aus can buy an year or two, you can start putting more emphasize in shield and probably, may be in 2 years time, you have something better to offer than likes of Warner, Hughes & Khwaja (who didnt got much chances though).

  • POSTED BY Dr.Vindaloo on | October 3, 2013, 8:18 GMT

    I can't understand why Clarke played the one-dayers in England. As if they mattered. He should have been on the first plane home after the Oval test to get right in time for Brisbane. He should emulate Tendulkar and quit ODI cricket to prolong his test career. Cricket Australia should be actively encouraging him to do so.

  • POSTED BY DaisonGarvasis on | October 3, 2013, 8:09 GMT

    So now AUS dont have Clarke! Given the form Mike Hussey is in these days, Cricket Australia would do well if they convince Mike to play this Ashes. Well, if there had been bad taste for him to retire quickly and there are apologies in order, make them and get the guy playing! How can Australia prepare some bowling friendly pitches with a batting line up without Clarke? Looks like the URN is staying with England, what needs to be seen is if its going to be a WHITEWASH! AT HOME!!! Oh my!!!!

  • POSTED BY on | October 3, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    During the summer, in the midst of the pointless ICC Champions Trophy trash, I went to Harley Street in London because of my back. Across the road I saw Clarke! He was such a nice guy. I wish him well, we want him in the Ashes, super batsman. Also, from stats perspective, he needs to play because in Perth it will be the first time that two players from opposing team will play their 100 Test together - Cook and Clarke.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | October 3, 2013, 8:00 GMT

    George bailey should be the replacement for clarke , bailey is way better than khwaja, hughes and hussey , nd watson has a big role to play if australia wants to win the series ......

  • POSTED BY featurewriter on | October 3, 2013, 7:34 GMT

    Without Clarke and Pattinson, I'd run with the following for Brisbane: Rogers, Warner, Watson, David Hussey, Hughes, Smith, Haddin, Johnson, Siddle, Harris and Lyon. I'd give Hussey a run as an interim replacement pending Clarke's return. The guy deserves a crack...although he may not get one on the back of Mike's book release.

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Lunge on | October 3, 2013, 7:18 GMT

    The excuses start already for Australia, which is typical of every Ashes series these days. Looks like England will win yet again, without Clarke Oz don't have a hope in hell.

  • POSTED BY Clyde on | October 3, 2013, 7:14 GMT

    More attention needs to be paid to durability in bowlers. At present, there is too much of saying, 'He is a good bowler but . . .' A bowler who breaks down is just that much less good. It seems to have been forgotten how many eight-ball overs fast bowlers used to be able to put in. Durability used to be a large component of a bowler's appeal.

  • POSTED BY xtrafalgarx on | October 3, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    @Doug Green, George bailey is not the next captain because he is the same age as Clarke himslef!!! So they will, more than likely retire at the same time.

  • POSTED BY on | October 3, 2013, 6:46 GMT

    Well we'll struggle to do worse than 3-0.

    Geez, without Clarke? Watson's last dig ensures his spot for the summer, you'd think Rogers and Smith are set. Without Clarke, we're still wondering what to do with 3 spots in the side. Oh well, Phil Hughes, Dave Warner and Usman Khawaja it is then, again...

    (bring back Katich?)

  • POSTED BY on | October 3, 2013, 6:20 GMT

    I personally think Michael should retire from one day format to prolong his test career.

  • POSTED BY ehsanrockss on | October 3, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    not a good news for any oz supporter, clarke is the only world class batsman in australian line up at the moment but pattinson loss will not be too big for australia because they have a vast pool of quality fast bowlers

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | October 3, 2013, 4:54 GMT

    If australia wants to win , shane watson is the key ....

  • POSTED BY ShutTheGate on | October 3, 2013, 3:39 GMT

    Arggh, we've got little chance of winning the series without Clarke.

    We need our best team on the field and performing to their best abilities to win this series in my opinion.

  • POSTED BY on | October 3, 2013, 3:25 GMT

    The injury to Pattinson was such a terrible misfortune for the Australian team. He struggled for line and length in the two Tests he played after being the form bowler by a massive margin in the warmups and got injured at his lowest point thus preventing a redemption ala Broad (who averaged over 50 per wicket until the final two tests and ended with average 27). Not only that but he is all but ruled out of the First Test in Brisbane. Would dearly love to see a fully fit fully calibrated Pattinson and Harris open in Perth.

  • POSTED BY cricketsubh on | October 3, 2013, 2:44 GMT

    clarke will play 1st test becoz he is not playing odi series becoz he and leman make a plan how to beating the eng .i canot understand why clarke make these statments that his not guarantee for 1st test.i think clarke rested for prepare himself for ashes not for his injury thats the facts.he misses ct2013 and play the ashes and now he miss india tour and will play the ashes i think that time also he not take the ct2013 seriously and now also he is not take india odi series sriously .

  • POSTED BY BatsmanWhoBowls on | October 3, 2013, 2:39 GMT

    My guess is that his back injury is as frustrating as ever, but it's not the main reason he's staying behind. I'd bet on Clarke having seen four bowlers who are six-foot-everything on the England team sheet, and come to the conclusion that India is not the place for him to be practising how he plays the short ball. His current methods of swaying out of the way or trying to stand tall and block the bouncers back down the pitch, is not working. It's painful to watch, and isn't going to get better on slow Indian one-day decks, especially since the only player tall enough to actually stand tall and block Chris Tremlett back down the wicket, is Chris Tremlett.

  • POSTED BY on | October 3, 2013, 2:38 GMT

    Same old, same old. G. Bailey, captain in waiting. Clarke needs to play as a batsman only, make Bailey skipper and Steve Smith vice-captain so when Bailey retires he steps into the role. Ask yourself...who else but Bailey has the captaincy experience and succeeded in Australia at the moment? Ponting? But he wont come back.

  • POSTED BY on | October 3, 2013, 2:11 GMT

    All these stress fractures for young quicks. Has anyone looked to see if the team footwear is causing the problem? Maybe time to go see a really good podiatrist.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | October 3, 2013, 1:45 GMT

    I want the Ashes to be contested between the best players on both sides.Not only does that mean the best cricket each country is capable of will be played, but winning is more satisfying and losing doesn't become a series of excuses.

    Aus is going through a tough time at the moment. Cummins and Starc are already out for the season, Pattinson won't be playing a full part and now there are doubts about Clarke's fitness. I thought it was a minor miracle that Harris almost made it to the end of the first series before pulling up lame and I hope that he'll be able to get through 5 tests in Australia.

    England also has a worry with Bresnan, but nothing on the scale of the Aussie problems.

    I hope Clarke will recover, Patto will progress faster than expected and Rhino will have his best series from a fitness point of view. Let's hope Bressie is available, too. I want this to be a great series from a cricket point of view, not a daily injury update.

  • POSTED BY on | October 3, 2013, 1:42 GMT

    Despite being our best batsman by a country mile it is time to give Clarke the boot. Mike Hussey has confirmed what everyone has suspected for years- that Michael Clarke is a blight on the Australian cricket team. We have only gone down, down, down since he took over from Punter and there is no end in sight. Giving Mickey Arthur the flick was a bandaid solution. M.J. Clarke is a cancer on the Aussie team.

  • POSTED BY VVSR92 on | October 3, 2013, 1:38 GMT

    No clarke australia dont stand a chance of winning ashes even in their home turf.Clarke is the only guy who can score big runs at a consitstent rate in a weak aussie batting line up.

  • POSTED BY VVSR92 on | October 3, 2013, 1:38 GMT

    No clarke australia dont stand a chance of winning ashes even in their home turf.Clarke is the only guy who can score big runs at a consitstent rate in a weak aussie batting line up.

  • POSTED BY on | October 3, 2013, 1:42 GMT

    Despite being our best batsman by a country mile it is time to give Clarke the boot. Mike Hussey has confirmed what everyone has suspected for years- that Michael Clarke is a blight on the Australian cricket team. We have only gone down, down, down since he took over from Punter and there is no end in sight. Giving Mickey Arthur the flick was a bandaid solution. M.J. Clarke is a cancer on the Aussie team.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | October 3, 2013, 1:45 GMT

    I want the Ashes to be contested between the best players on both sides.Not only does that mean the best cricket each country is capable of will be played, but winning is more satisfying and losing doesn't become a series of excuses.

    Aus is going through a tough time at the moment. Cummins and Starc are already out for the season, Pattinson won't be playing a full part and now there are doubts about Clarke's fitness. I thought it was a minor miracle that Harris almost made it to the end of the first series before pulling up lame and I hope that he'll be able to get through 5 tests in Australia.

    England also has a worry with Bresnan, but nothing on the scale of the Aussie problems.

    I hope Clarke will recover, Patto will progress faster than expected and Rhino will have his best series from a fitness point of view. Let's hope Bressie is available, too. I want this to be a great series from a cricket point of view, not a daily injury update.

  • POSTED BY on | October 3, 2013, 2:11 GMT

    All these stress fractures for young quicks. Has anyone looked to see if the team footwear is causing the problem? Maybe time to go see a really good podiatrist.

  • POSTED BY on | October 3, 2013, 2:38 GMT

    Same old, same old. G. Bailey, captain in waiting. Clarke needs to play as a batsman only, make Bailey skipper and Steve Smith vice-captain so when Bailey retires he steps into the role. Ask yourself...who else but Bailey has the captaincy experience and succeeded in Australia at the moment? Ponting? But he wont come back.

  • POSTED BY BatsmanWhoBowls on | October 3, 2013, 2:39 GMT

    My guess is that his back injury is as frustrating as ever, but it's not the main reason he's staying behind. I'd bet on Clarke having seen four bowlers who are six-foot-everything on the England team sheet, and come to the conclusion that India is not the place for him to be practising how he plays the short ball. His current methods of swaying out of the way or trying to stand tall and block the bouncers back down the pitch, is not working. It's painful to watch, and isn't going to get better on slow Indian one-day decks, especially since the only player tall enough to actually stand tall and block Chris Tremlett back down the wicket, is Chris Tremlett.

  • POSTED BY cricketsubh on | October 3, 2013, 2:44 GMT

    clarke will play 1st test becoz he is not playing odi series becoz he and leman make a plan how to beating the eng .i canot understand why clarke make these statments that his not guarantee for 1st test.i think clarke rested for prepare himself for ashes not for his injury thats the facts.he misses ct2013 and play the ashes and now he miss india tour and will play the ashes i think that time also he not take the ct2013 seriously and now also he is not take india odi series sriously .

  • POSTED BY on | October 3, 2013, 3:25 GMT

    The injury to Pattinson was such a terrible misfortune for the Australian team. He struggled for line and length in the two Tests he played after being the form bowler by a massive margin in the warmups and got injured at his lowest point thus preventing a redemption ala Broad (who averaged over 50 per wicket until the final two tests and ended with average 27). Not only that but he is all but ruled out of the First Test in Brisbane. Would dearly love to see a fully fit fully calibrated Pattinson and Harris open in Perth.

  • POSTED BY ShutTheGate on | October 3, 2013, 3:39 GMT

    Arggh, we've got little chance of winning the series without Clarke.

    We need our best team on the field and performing to their best abilities to win this series in my opinion.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | October 3, 2013, 4:54 GMT

    If australia wants to win , shane watson is the key ....