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February 13, 2012
Michael Clarke, the Australia captain, has confirmed a hamstring complaint will keep him out of Friday's triangular series match against Sri Lanka in Sydney.
It will be the first ODI or Test he has missed since replacing Ricky Ponting as leader following the end of the 2011 World Cup campaign.
Clarke complained of right hamstring soreness in the field against India during Sunday night's loss at Adelaide Oval, and upon his return to Sydney underwent scans to check on the injury.
A grade one hamstring strain was located, ruling Clarke out of the team's next fixture, though he hopes not to miss more than one match.
After Friday, the squad travels to Brisbane for another meeting with India on Sunday.
His absence, at a time when he may have been due for a rest, has opened up a dilemma for the national selectors regarding who should be the stand-in captain. The official vice-captain Shane Watson is making a slow and steady recovery from his own leg muscle problems, while Brad Haddin, Clarke's deputy in the Tests against India, has been rested while Matthew Wade is given a glimpse of the wicketkeeping spot.
I have a grade one hamstring strain so will be out of Fridays game vs SL but hopefully be back for Sun against India in Bris. Good news.— Michael Clarke (@MClarke23) February 13, 2012
David Warner has served as vice-captain so far during the ODI series, a role he also fills with the national Twenty20 team, while the former captain Ricky Ponting remains a senior figure in the dressing room. Another option would be to call in George Bailey, captain of Tasmania and the T20 team, and in strong form during his state's last two fixtures against New South Wales.
Australia's team physio Alex Kountouris said Clarke's availability for the Sunday match would be determined later this week. "He will not recover in time to play in Australia's next Commonwealth Bank Series game on Friday in Sydney against Sri Lanka," Kountouris said, "but I will assess him later this week and decide on his availability for the game in Brisbane on Sunday against India."
The Australia squad for the next block of triangular series matches will be named by the national selector John Inverarity on Tuesday.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Daniel Brettig
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