Australia news September 3, 2014

Clarke faces race to make UAE tour

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Coverdale: Clarke needs to think about ODIs after World Cup

Australia's captain Michael Clarke will face a race against time to prove his fitness for the series against Pakistan in the UAE after scans confirmed an injury to his left hamstring.

Clarke arrived back in Sydney on Tuesday after leaving the Zimbabwe tri-series early and he now faces an intensive rehabilitation programme with the first ODI against Pakistan in Sharjah less than five weeks away.

"Michael Clarke had an MRI scan on returning from Zimbabwe that has confirmed a left hamstring muscle injury," Alex Kountouris, the Cricket Australia physio, said. "He will have intensive rehabilitation for this injury and we will be monitoring his progress over the next week before deciding when he can return to training and playing."

Clarke suffered the injury at Australia's first training session after arriving in Zimbabwe and missed the first two matches. He was passed fit to play the third game against Zimbabwe but aggravated the injury during his innings of 68 not out.

Although Clarke remained off the field at the start of Zimbabwe's chase, he returned to take charge as Zimbabwe progressed and he even bowled an over in what became Australia's first ODI loss to Zimbabwe in 31 years.

It is unclear whether the injury worsened as a result of his fielding or bowling, but having returned home he must now turn his attention solely to regaining fitness for the UAE tour. Australia play three ODIs against Pakistan before the first Test in Dubai, which begins on October 22.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • t20cric on September 4, 2014, 17:41 GMT

    @electric_loco_WAP4: Pakistan aren't doing that well these days but you might be underestimating them too much. The pitches in UAE are best for spinners. That means trouble for Australia who already can't play spin. Ajmal & Hafeez will be very dangerous against this Aus team who can't play spin. But on the flip side our batting is very bad (it would be a bit better if Fawad & Sarfraz played all formats). You can expect this series to probably be a low scoring one. As for your question about can we last even 40 overs against best bowling in the world, we did that regularly last year against SA. If you think Australia is the best bowling then you're definitely wrong.

  • cricketsubh on September 4, 2014, 14:24 GMT

    i think aus need to pick to dhourty for odis in uae he is aus best odi spinner lyon is gud but he is to young to pick in wc squrd i pick dhourty in 15 men wc squad if he is not pick aus selector made a big mistake wc started in feb end of aus summer pitches was not fresh at that time becoz all 1st class matches have been played so pitches will hel spinner odis hard to play left aem spinner they can dry up the runs luk jadega from india he bowl vrey well in all pitches so pick dhourty.clarke need rest give him reast he can back fully fit vs sa in home 5 match odi series just play clarke in test in uae vs pak then he plat those odis in home in pick tom cooper to replace clarke in odis in uae .plz publish

  • on September 4, 2014, 11:05 GMT

    clark should be retired from onedays

  • on September 4, 2014, 10:15 GMT

    The worst thing for Australia would be to make Watson captain. He cannot handle pressure - seen that many times in IPL. He gives up too easily. Bailey is only as good as his team - nothing special. So without Clark Australia will suffer.

  • cricketsubh on September 4, 2014, 9:41 GMT

    i donot want to risk clarke in 3 match odi series in uae vs pak aus got got players to win them the series aganigt pak pak team was strugaling aus donot need clarke

  • xtrafalgarx on September 4, 2014, 9:30 GMT

    @Praspunter: Ending your career in the old blighty, thousand of miles away from home, in front of unappreciative crowds is hardly the way to go. Ending your career away from home isn't ideal, he won't retire there.

  • PrasPunter on September 4, 2014, 7:55 GMT

    I think Clarke must quit ODIs to prolong his test career. We have got an Ashes series to retain. And I dont see Pup playing beyond Ashes 2015. Got nothing left to prove. And given his injuries, he would walk away if we are able to retain the Ashes next year.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on September 4, 2014, 5:18 GMT

    @ Ashokdmightyindian - Nice to hear of your concerns regarding Aussie team.But it would of least bother to the Aussies themselves how they will go in UAE. Such is the gulf between Aussie and Pak teams that even with half the Aus A team ,they will be easily able to w/w Pak ,all in 4 days 3-0. Do you think this awful Pak batting will last even 40 overs vs best bowling attack in world? I'm Indian by the way.

  • bren19 on September 4, 2014, 3:57 GMT

    Clarkey knows his own body - if he feels he is ok to continue ODI's then maybe he should. Having said that, the performance against SA the other night without both Clarke and Watson shows that there might be a changing of the guard in ODI in store for Australia anyway

  • Flemo_Gilly on September 4, 2014, 3:32 GMT

    Likes of Doolan, Hughes, Khawaja and White will all be in the mix to get into the squad but i do hope Clarke is fit to go as this series will be dictated by spin.

  • t20cric on September 4, 2014, 17:41 GMT

    @electric_loco_WAP4: Pakistan aren't doing that well these days but you might be underestimating them too much. The pitches in UAE are best for spinners. That means trouble for Australia who already can't play spin. Ajmal & Hafeez will be very dangerous against this Aus team who can't play spin. But on the flip side our batting is very bad (it would be a bit better if Fawad & Sarfraz played all formats). You can expect this series to probably be a low scoring one. As for your question about can we last even 40 overs against best bowling in the world, we did that regularly last year against SA. If you think Australia is the best bowling then you're definitely wrong.

  • cricketsubh on September 4, 2014, 14:24 GMT

    i think aus need to pick to dhourty for odis in uae he is aus best odi spinner lyon is gud but he is to young to pick in wc squrd i pick dhourty in 15 men wc squad if he is not pick aus selector made a big mistake wc started in feb end of aus summer pitches was not fresh at that time becoz all 1st class matches have been played so pitches will hel spinner odis hard to play left aem spinner they can dry up the runs luk jadega from india he bowl vrey well in all pitches so pick dhourty.clarke need rest give him reast he can back fully fit vs sa in home 5 match odi series just play clarke in test in uae vs pak then he plat those odis in home in pick tom cooper to replace clarke in odis in uae .plz publish

  • on September 4, 2014, 11:05 GMT

    clark should be retired from onedays

  • on September 4, 2014, 10:15 GMT

    The worst thing for Australia would be to make Watson captain. He cannot handle pressure - seen that many times in IPL. He gives up too easily. Bailey is only as good as his team - nothing special. So without Clark Australia will suffer.

  • cricketsubh on September 4, 2014, 9:41 GMT

    i donot want to risk clarke in 3 match odi series in uae vs pak aus got got players to win them the series aganigt pak pak team was strugaling aus donot need clarke

  • xtrafalgarx on September 4, 2014, 9:30 GMT

    @Praspunter: Ending your career in the old blighty, thousand of miles away from home, in front of unappreciative crowds is hardly the way to go. Ending your career away from home isn't ideal, he won't retire there.

  • PrasPunter on September 4, 2014, 7:55 GMT

    I think Clarke must quit ODIs to prolong his test career. We have got an Ashes series to retain. And I dont see Pup playing beyond Ashes 2015. Got nothing left to prove. And given his injuries, he would walk away if we are able to retain the Ashes next year.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on September 4, 2014, 5:18 GMT

    @ Ashokdmightyindian - Nice to hear of your concerns regarding Aussie team.But it would of least bother to the Aussies themselves how they will go in UAE. Such is the gulf between Aussie and Pak teams that even with half the Aus A team ,they will be easily able to w/w Pak ,all in 4 days 3-0. Do you think this awful Pak batting will last even 40 overs vs best bowling attack in world? I'm Indian by the way.

  • bren19 on September 4, 2014, 3:57 GMT

    Clarkey knows his own body - if he feels he is ok to continue ODI's then maybe he should. Having said that, the performance against SA the other night without both Clarke and Watson shows that there might be a changing of the guard in ODI in store for Australia anyway

  • Flemo_Gilly on September 4, 2014, 3:32 GMT

    Likes of Doolan, Hughes, Khawaja and White will all be in the mix to get into the squad but i do hope Clarke is fit to go as this series will be dictated by spin.

  • looloogun on September 4, 2014, 3:07 GMT

    if clarke misses out , i like if the captaincy is given to shane watson instead of dullhead haddin ,i dont know whats the problem with appointing watson as the captian looking at way he bowls craftly plays in the minds of batsmen picks up he reads the game better and a smart person.even clarke is a loudmouth on and off the field with former coach and players but with watson there is some history of onfield verbal altercations on field in the heat but he always carried himself good off the field and has good rapport with his teammates .shane warne has good things to say about both watson and clarke but if clarke is not available i would choose watson as a captain instead of too nice a guy bailey even in odis watson desrves it .

  • OneEyedAussie on September 4, 2014, 0:43 GMT

    I will be extremely surprised if Clarke does not play in the test series against Pakistan.

  • dunger.bob on September 4, 2014, 0:09 GMT

    @ t20cric: Welcome mate. It's great to get some thoughts from the Pakistani side of things. Measured, intelligent thoughts such as yours are always especially good to see.

    I agree that Pakistan is in a bit of a spin themselves at the moment. I'm sure you guys would have liked to do a bit better against the Lankans but I think that just makes you all the more dangerous. You guys will be looking to set that right and who better to do it to than Australia. .. We've got our work cut out, there's no doubt about that, and losing Clarke is definitely not going to make it any easier. Apart from his captaincy, which is inspired at times, he's easily the best player of spin we have. Anyway, I'm looking forward to this so let's hope that both teams are up for it and we get a riveting series.

  • Sexysteven on September 4, 2014, 0:04 GMT

    If I was in the Aussie camp I would be thinking that it's not worth risking Clarke for the UAE they will need him for the home series and the World Cup considering he's got a history of back and hamstring trouble it would prob pay to give him more time to get his injuries as close to right as possible if that means missing the UAE tour so be it what's more important the World Cup at home or atour to UAE on slow low crap pitches

  • CricketChat on September 3, 2014, 23:00 GMT

    Clarke is still good enough to walk into ODI team any day. However, his body has become quite fragile in the last 2/3 yrs. I don't think CA should risk him for WC. He may continue to play the odd ODI, but I don't see him play ODIs day in and day out any longer.

  • landl47 on September 3, 2014, 21:19 GMT

    I suppose the good news for Clarke is that resting his sore hamstring will help ease his aching back.

    The series in the UAE won't do anything for him with regard to the World Cup, the conditions are so different, so if he's less than 100% fit he should not be risked. It might be a chance to give a new young batsman or two the chance of a game and by 'new young' I'm thinking of someone like Jordan Silk, not Shaun Marsh (31), Callum Ferguson (30 in November) or Alex Doolan (29 in November). You pretty much know what you'll get out of those guys.

    Clarke's experience, captaincy and batting will be vital to Australia over the next year, so he should be treated like the valuable commodity he is.

  • on September 3, 2014, 20:50 GMT

    Pak needs a raha process for the whole team. They are in a right mess

  • on September 3, 2014, 17:36 GMT

    I think Australia needs him for the World Cup - more for his experience than his batting (and that goes against Butcher quoting Chappelli on picking the best eleven and then choosing a captain - not that Clarke need be the captain). Not sure about Australia's one day bowling, and having Clarke's tactical nous on field could be the difference between it working or not. Plenty of World Cups have been won with surprise-packet bowlers, and I feel that Australia (along with India, Sri Lanka and arguably even RSA) are going to have to unearth some extra talent for the WC.

  • t20cric on September 3, 2014, 16:16 GMT

    As a Pakistani fan its good news that Clarke might miss a few games against us. He is a good batsman and our team is in a mess right now. With Clarke out & Australia's obvious weakness to spin I think we could possibly beat Australia in at least a few matches (i won't say the whole series cuz that seems far fetched looking at recent form). If Clarke also can't play the tests then it will be a big hit but Pakistan test team is also in a mess & SA managed to beat us by an innings without Amla. I'm hoping Johnson just loses his form by the time he gets to UAE & Australia's batsmen continue to be clueless against spin. That way we can at least win something before the world cup.

  • on September 3, 2014, 16:09 GMT

    Yeah I had thought about Doolan but wasn't sure where Australia actually stood with him as like you said Bob he didn't set the world alight in SA. Also someone else mentioned too that Marsh is injured as that's why I've not got him in and they won't play Mitch marsh. I wouldn't be so worried about Ajmal as he is only 1 bowler and hey he might be banned for all we know for those games plus he couldn't bowl SL out on a square turning pitch. Like Boofs approach I'd go with the guys in form , hence why I put Hughes in at 3.

  • RapidCommentsPlz on September 3, 2014, 15:59 GMT

    ha!! good for him and better for lehman to take a holiday or probably resign bcoz this tour will again show the inability of aussies to play spin. their play is pathetic as s hown by an associate spinner!!! Hope Aus send their domestic team to save the grace!!! Ajmal will once again roll over this poor side!! I doubt Pak need his service!! Hafeez alone should be enough for this entire team!! the whole side will be his bunny!! he he!!These guys dont even know how to survive spin let alone play it!!!

  • on September 3, 2014, 14:50 GMT

    @dragoncricketer Shaun marsh is unavailable for uae series with an elbow injury.

  • Yousufahmedl on September 3, 2014, 14:12 GMT

    Good luck Michael Clarke. You are such an exciting batsman. Definitely only 2nd in the current form to Angelo Mathews.

  • DragonCricketer on September 3, 2014, 14:05 GMT

    Hey Facebook Jamie Moneghan, where is Marsh in your line up. He is picked before Hughes in last Tests. People disagreed with this but Marsh did alright and Hughes was 13th man and missed the chance to top the shield batting aggregate back home.

  • HatsforBats on September 3, 2014, 13:51 GMT

    @ dunger.bob yeah fair enough mate, but still I'd rather risk him in the UAE, but that's just me being selfish. Besides, how many World Cups does a man need, right?

  • First_Drop on September 3, 2014, 13:25 GMT

    Pup needs to make sure he is fit for the tests - far less worried about the ODI's, where I feel we have much better cover for him than at test level.

  • xtrafalgarx on September 3, 2014, 13:23 GMT

    @Jamie Moneghan: I hope Hughes doesn't play in Pakistan, but against India. Sending him against Ajmal just might be the nail in the coffin for him on those tracks.

    I like the Idea of Doolan, he hasn't done enough to be a lock in, but has done enough not to be dropped to. He will have another crack, but he will need a decent contribution to hold his spot.

  • on September 3, 2014, 13:03 GMT

    It will be interesting if Clarke is out of the tests. I think the likely batting line up would be Rogers Warner Hughes doolan Smith Watson and haddin. but we will still need a back up batsman in the squad. All I can think is either white, khawaja, or Forrest, but I really didn't think Australia would ever need to look into them. assuming just s.marsh, Harris and Pattinson are out of the tour, my 15 man test squad would be Rogers Warner doolan Clarke Smith Watson haddin Hughes m.marsh Lyon o'keefe Johnson siddle Bird and Hazelwood. sorry to leave out bollinger and starc .

  • dunger.bob on September 3, 2014, 12:25 GMT

    @ HatsforBats: I didn't mean to play down the importance of the Pakistan series and I fully agree that we need to win those if we want to be able to claim to be back near our best. But, I don't want to see Clarke go over there, break down again and miss the World Cup. So, if he's fit fine, take him but if there's any doubt at all I think he's too important in the medium term to risk.

  • on September 3, 2014, 12:11 GMT

    Don't worry about ODI series, make sure he is fit for tests. I would like to see Australia play two spinners - Lyon and SOK. Johnson can be Johnson, siddle can do the workhorse job that he always does and Watson can chip in too. Ambiguity remains over a third pacer; although Starc seems at the front of the cue, perhaps someone like Hazelwood? I only see Warner, Smith, Clarke, Watson and Haddin being able to front up to the Pak spinners. Doolan and Rogers may be very vulnerable against the spinners and perhaps someone like Henriques (who scored a couple of 50s on debut against India).

  • HatsforBats on September 3, 2014, 11:40 GMT

    @ dunger.bob if you're referring to the Pak-Aus series, sorry mate, can't agree with you. The UAE tour is just as important a series as any Aus have had in years. We need to win these away series in foreign conditions to cement our place as a top side, and not be just another inconsistent, mid-table dwelling, average test side (like some other recent #1 teams). Even with Clarke we'll do well to get away with a draw I reckon, and I'd much rather watch him over there than watch another massacre over summer.

  • Dangertroy on September 3, 2014, 10:58 GMT

    Clarke misses more ODI matches than he plays these days, I forget that he still captains it most of the time. He shouldn't worry about playing in the ODI matches in UAE, concentrate on being right for the test matches. Regarding selection, I imagine it will go something like: Warner, Rogers, Doolan/Watson, Clarke, Smith, Watson/Maxwell, Haddin, Faulkner/O'Keefe, Johnson, Siddle, Lyon. Hughes will carry the drinks, Starc and maybe one other quick in the touring squad.

  • on September 3, 2014, 10:53 GMT

    A decent team of Pakistan could have beaten this Australian Side in tests if it does not have Clarke. But the problem here is that this is not an even decent side from Pakistan. They just don't recognize their potential which is a must at international level. So my prediction for this test series is 1-0 to Australia and for Odis' it is gonna be 2-1 to Australia. Pakistan would win the twenty20 only.

  • dunger.bob on September 3, 2014, 9:47 GMT

    Don't mess about with Clarke. If he's not fully fit, don't send him. We need him later.

    @ Jamie Moneghan: No room for Doolan I see. I'm not sure about him either but I think they'll probably give him a go. He didn't set the world alight in SA but he didn't actually disgrace himself either. I'd actually like to see them persist with him for a while if for no other reason than to be able to say he got a fair go before they drop him. So I'd leave Doolan at 3, put Hughes at 4 to cover Clarke and that's it. With the bowling, it's a lottery for that 3rd seamers spot. Last man standing more like it. Pattinson would be the logical choice but he's not fit either. .. They'll probably just go with Starc because he ain't in rehab but I'd prefer a right hander to partner Mitch.

  • on September 3, 2014, 9:00 GMT

    Phil Hughes this is your chance to come in and bat at number 3. 1. Rogers 2.Warner 3. Hughes 4. Watson 5. Smith 6 ? 7. Haddin 8. Johnston 9. Siddle 10. Lyon 11. ?. Not sure the best option for number 6 spot as a few candidates and same for the extra bowling spot where Harris would of been. Top 5 looks pretty good and wouldn't be surprised if that's what they go for in the first test ( if Clarke is out)

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  • on September 3, 2014, 9:00 GMT

    Phil Hughes this is your chance to come in and bat at number 3. 1. Rogers 2.Warner 3. Hughes 4. Watson 5. Smith 6 ? 7. Haddin 8. Johnston 9. Siddle 10. Lyon 11. ?. Not sure the best option for number 6 spot as a few candidates and same for the extra bowling spot where Harris would of been. Top 5 looks pretty good and wouldn't be surprised if that's what they go for in the first test ( if Clarke is out)

  • dunger.bob on September 3, 2014, 9:47 GMT

    Don't mess about with Clarke. If he's not fully fit, don't send him. We need him later.

    @ Jamie Moneghan: No room for Doolan I see. I'm not sure about him either but I think they'll probably give him a go. He didn't set the world alight in SA but he didn't actually disgrace himself either. I'd actually like to see them persist with him for a while if for no other reason than to be able to say he got a fair go before they drop him. So I'd leave Doolan at 3, put Hughes at 4 to cover Clarke and that's it. With the bowling, it's a lottery for that 3rd seamers spot. Last man standing more like it. Pattinson would be the logical choice but he's not fit either. .. They'll probably just go with Starc because he ain't in rehab but I'd prefer a right hander to partner Mitch.

  • on September 3, 2014, 10:53 GMT

    A decent team of Pakistan could have beaten this Australian Side in tests if it does not have Clarke. But the problem here is that this is not an even decent side from Pakistan. They just don't recognize their potential which is a must at international level. So my prediction for this test series is 1-0 to Australia and for Odis' it is gonna be 2-1 to Australia. Pakistan would win the twenty20 only.

  • Dangertroy on September 3, 2014, 10:58 GMT

    Clarke misses more ODI matches than he plays these days, I forget that he still captains it most of the time. He shouldn't worry about playing in the ODI matches in UAE, concentrate on being right for the test matches. Regarding selection, I imagine it will go something like: Warner, Rogers, Doolan/Watson, Clarke, Smith, Watson/Maxwell, Haddin, Faulkner/O'Keefe, Johnson, Siddle, Lyon. Hughes will carry the drinks, Starc and maybe one other quick in the touring squad.

  • HatsforBats on September 3, 2014, 11:40 GMT

    @ dunger.bob if you're referring to the Pak-Aus series, sorry mate, can't agree with you. The UAE tour is just as important a series as any Aus have had in years. We need to win these away series in foreign conditions to cement our place as a top side, and not be just another inconsistent, mid-table dwelling, average test side (like some other recent #1 teams). Even with Clarke we'll do well to get away with a draw I reckon, and I'd much rather watch him over there than watch another massacre over summer.

  • on September 3, 2014, 12:11 GMT

    Don't worry about ODI series, make sure he is fit for tests. I would like to see Australia play two spinners - Lyon and SOK. Johnson can be Johnson, siddle can do the workhorse job that he always does and Watson can chip in too. Ambiguity remains over a third pacer; although Starc seems at the front of the cue, perhaps someone like Hazelwood? I only see Warner, Smith, Clarke, Watson and Haddin being able to front up to the Pak spinners. Doolan and Rogers may be very vulnerable against the spinners and perhaps someone like Henriques (who scored a couple of 50s on debut against India).

  • dunger.bob on September 3, 2014, 12:25 GMT

    @ HatsforBats: I didn't mean to play down the importance of the Pakistan series and I fully agree that we need to win those if we want to be able to claim to be back near our best. But, I don't want to see Clarke go over there, break down again and miss the World Cup. So, if he's fit fine, take him but if there's any doubt at all I think he's too important in the medium term to risk.

  • on September 3, 2014, 13:03 GMT

    It will be interesting if Clarke is out of the tests. I think the likely batting line up would be Rogers Warner Hughes doolan Smith Watson and haddin. but we will still need a back up batsman in the squad. All I can think is either white, khawaja, or Forrest, but I really didn't think Australia would ever need to look into them. assuming just s.marsh, Harris and Pattinson are out of the tour, my 15 man test squad would be Rogers Warner doolan Clarke Smith Watson haddin Hughes m.marsh Lyon o'keefe Johnson siddle Bird and Hazelwood. sorry to leave out bollinger and starc .

  • xtrafalgarx on September 3, 2014, 13:23 GMT

    @Jamie Moneghan: I hope Hughes doesn't play in Pakistan, but against India. Sending him against Ajmal just might be the nail in the coffin for him on those tracks.

    I like the Idea of Doolan, he hasn't done enough to be a lock in, but has done enough not to be dropped to. He will have another crack, but he will need a decent contribution to hold his spot.

  • First_Drop on September 3, 2014, 13:25 GMT

    Pup needs to make sure he is fit for the tests - far less worried about the ODI's, where I feel we have much better cover for him than at test level.