Champions Trophy 2013 June 6, 2013

Clarke ruled out of England match

ESPNcricinfo staff

Michael Clarke has been ruled out of Australia's opening Champions Trophy match against England on Saturday and vice-captain George Bailey will lead the side in his absence. Clarke's involvement in the rest of the tournament also remains uncertain as he continues to battle a long-standing back problem that kept him from playing either of the two warm-up matches against West Indies and India.

"Michael is making steady progress in his recovery from the recent lower back injury but is yet to return to training," Alex Kountouris, the team physio, said on Friday morning. "He will remain in London over the coming days to continue his rehabilitation and will not be available for the first match against England on Saturday. How he responds to the ongoing treatment will determine his availability for the match against New Zealand next Wednesday."

The situation is also a concern for the Australians just over a month from the first Test of the Ashes, for although Clarke has had the back problem since he was a teenager it appears to have affected him more over the past few months than in the past. He missed Australia's most recent Test, the loss to India in Delhi, and it was the first time he has been forced to sit out of a Test due to his back trouble.

On Thursday, Kountouris conceded that the abbreviated nature of the Champions Trophy meant Clarke's participation in any part of it was uncertain and it could also depend on whether the Australians move past the group stage.

"We are just trying to get him right," Kountouris said. "He has had this before so we know how it plays out and we know the treatment that he needs to get him right. But being such a short tournament we're racing against time to get him fit.

"We certainly won't be taking any risks. It is a really important time of the year for us, that goes without saying. This is an important tournament too so we'll get him up for whatever games we can and won't take any stupid risks. Firstly he needs to be pain free, which he's not at the moment.

"Then we need to put him through a series of tests, get him running and batting and get him doing things he'd normally do. We need him training at full intensity before we get him on the park."

News of Clarke's injury has compounded Australia's far from perfect preparation to this event. They were bowled out for just 65 in their warm-up game against India and David Warner, one of their opening batsmen, has been dismissed for 0 in both warm-up games.

But Bailey reacted to the news phlegmatically. "It's a great opportunity for us to prove a lot of people wrong," he said.

"Honestly, I reckon all sides believe they can win the tournament. In terms of a cricket spectacle, that must be really exciting for the fans around the globe knowing that your country is in with a real shot at winning the title.

"Our best is still as good as anyone else or any other teams in the world. If we play our best cricket, I've got no doubt we can win the tournament and we probably will win the tournament.

"There's no doubt it's a blow. We'd love to have Pup with us as a batsman and as our captain. But it is what it is, and we have to deal with the fact that we don't have him for tomorrow. The challenge is there and the opportunity is there for the rest of us to step up, and I know it will be a great boost to the side to know that we can win without him."

Story updated at 0700 GMT to confirm that Clarke had been ruled out and at 1400 to add Bailey's reaction

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on June 8, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    People are commenting on anything but the topic - from bowling attacks of India & Pakistan to whether neutral audiences will be attracted (English people are called 'neutral' in their own country.. wow) to even inferiority complex!!

    So about the topic, I feel that its going to be a good match cause both teams have struggled. Australia need some more runs from their batsmen especially opening. England also have some decisions to do with opening and bowling line-up

  • John on June 8, 2013, 9:01 GMT

    @sachin_vvsfan on (June 8, 2013, 6:06 GMT) re "Clive_Dunn And english fans what makes you think that anyone/everone who comments against Eng is Indian?" Probably the user names give part of it away and the fact that most of the people have gone on about India's matches on the same threads. Other nations' fans would go on about their own country. BTW - I have already said what was incorrect re samincolumbia/Iqbal Satrio Nindito's comms on this thread. Maybe you could point out where I'm incorrect. BTW I don't condone FFL's gloating comms and I don't agree with JMC on this one but TBH is spot on.

  • sri on June 8, 2013, 8:07 GMT

    @jmcilhinney colonialism!! We were taught this in our schools in history subject but most of the younger generation don't really care about this or they simply remain ignorant. "Do you contend that noone in India harbours any ill feeling towards England as a result of past English rule?" Well i am not sure. May be my grand fathers(not alive) generation have that feeling. And most of the times the hostility that you see from Indian fans is purely based on cricketing reasons. You would see the same hostility even in Aus and SL forums as well( Pakistan may be different though)England joined the list after they snatched the test rankings from us. The media sensation was too much when we became num 1 and No Indian fan expected that time to loose to a weaker(that s the perception) England.

    That said i am asking this question out of curiosity . Have you seen the same hostility from Indians in other forums (other than sport)?

  • Sandy on June 8, 2013, 7:49 GMT

    No matter who wins today. Both Australia and England will qualify for semis from group A. Pakistan and WI or SA will qualify for semis from group B. As usual India will get knocked out after group matches. That is what we have been seeing for ages now. Congrats both Australia and England for today's match...!!!

  • Dummy4 on June 8, 2013, 7:29 GMT

    @jmcilhinney- I agree mate, I am actually Aussie and am constantly aware of anglophobia in my country. I suppose it is inevitable hangover from the heady days of Empire! That said at the moment England is certainly the superior country to mine as far as cricket goes..

  • Rajkumar on June 8, 2013, 7:27 GMT

    @jmcilhinney on (June 8, 2013, 6:47 GMT)-that was quite a matter of fact kind of post from you.But would definitely like to clarify a bit.Among Indians if at all there is resentment it is towards those English nationals who still harbor the colonial mentality(and NOT against England the nation or English cricket.) I am from India and have lived here all life and am a big fan of current Engliht test side with its workman style batting and balanced bowling(termed 'orthodox' by many but has many takers in India).Also i would prefer the professionlism and cricketing skills a cricketer can pick up from county season any day over IPL.Not saying IPL is totally bad but there is good and bad(like in all walks of life)hope point gets noted..please pubish..

  • David on June 8, 2013, 7:18 GMT

    @Eat_sleep_play_cricket, don't kid yourself that you are "neutral" observer. Your attitude towards the western nations' teams is obvious. Australia and England are ranked 2 and 3 in ODIs, so what does this say for the "star power" of all those below them? BTW, Watson just won the player of the series in the IPL. That must be embarrassing for you. Faulkner and Johnson took 28 and 24 wickets - second and third highest for the comp. Watson finished 5th in runs. Too bad Hussey isn't there, as he finished first.

  • John on June 8, 2013, 6:49 GMT

    @Imsrk on (June 8, 2013, 6:24 GMT), England is much better than Bangladesh in ODIs. Phew! Now the balance of the universe has been restored.

  • John on June 8, 2013, 6:47 GMT

    @sachin_vvsfan on (June 8, 2013, 6:06 GMT), I don't think anyone is saying that everyone who has a bad word to say about England is Indian and I'm certainly not saying that every Indian or even every Indian cricket fan hates England because of colonialism. That said, I live in Australia and there's still a resentment toward England here because of colonialism and the majority of Australians are actually British a few generations back so I know what it looks like. There's certainly resentment in the Australian Aboriginal community so to deny that it exists in India is burying your head in the sand. My comment was not intended to be an attack on anyone. It was simply an explanation for some of the hostility we see here from some Indian fans. I wasn't saying that it is good or bad, right or wrong, but simply that it is. Do you contend that noone in India harbours any ill feeling towards England as a result of past English rule?

  • Rahul on June 8, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    Eng is no better than BD in OdI

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