Clarke faces race to make UAE tour
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