Champions Trophy 2013

Clarke hopeful of Sri Lanka return

Andrew McGlashan

June 14, 2013

Comments: 11 | Text size: A | A

Michael Clarke stretches, Australia v West Indies, 4th ODI, Sydney, February 8, 2013
Michael Clarke is optimistic about playing in the Ashes in July © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Michael Clarke
Series/Tournaments: ICC Champions Trophy
Teams: Australia

Michael Clarke is not certain whether he will be fit to face Sri Lanka in Australia's vital last Champions Trophy group match on Monday but has declared that he "will definitely be back for the Ashes".

Even before David Warner decided to take swing at Joe Root last week, Clarke had enough on his mind as he tried to overcome a recurrence of his back problem which had ruled him out of Australia's first two matches.

Australia's tournament hopes rest on Monday's meeting with Sri Lanka at The Oval but it remains uncertain whether their captain will be able to return to the side. Clarke was not with the squad during the first two games - a defeat to England and an abandonment against New Zealand - and his linking back up with the team as they arrived in London was dominated by him dealing with the fall-out to Warner's night out.

However, there was time to ask Clarke about the state of his back and though he tried to make positive noises he was not giving any promises.

"It is getting there," he said. "I can sit here and say I will be 100% fit for the game on Monday. But I have been saying that for the last two games as well.

"It is about judging my back every day. It is slowly getting better, there is no doubt about it, but I am as keen as ever to try to get on the field and help this team have some success."

George Bailey has led the side in Clarke's absence and has struck two half-centuries, but the top order has been unconvincing. Before Warner's enforced absence, his form had been poor and Shane Watson is also struggling for runs. Phil Hughes battled his way to an unconvincing 30 against England and was run out for a duck against New Zealand.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by   on (June 15, 2013, 18:48 GMT)

I wonder what the role of Mitchell Marsh is in the team. With Watson, they already have a genuine all rounder and faulkner is useful with the bat, so they can go with a genuine batsman in his place, may be a Shaun Marsh or Callum Fergussen (if they are not injured)

Posted by LALITHKURUWITA on (June 14, 2013, 10:35 GMT)

@Jacob Romani-Phillips @ Shubham Agarwal, Cricket Aus had a plan few years ago. So they drop all good players like Katick, and Ponting. CA wants become 8th position in Test Ranking.

Posted by LALITHKURUWITA on (June 14, 2013, 10:30 GMT)

Clarke may be physically fit but not mentally fit to face SL as when he sees the way that SL beat EN.

Posted by   on (June 14, 2013, 9:47 GMT)

Australia should select Sam Robson for the Ashes who has been playing in Middlesex since 2009, has good technique and temperament with a FC average of 41 (nearly 80 this county season). He played for Australia u19's so it would be a real loss if he were to play for England.

Posted by RahulHariharan on (June 14, 2013, 8:42 GMT)

Why every one just thinking of ashes after Monday game!! There are semi finals and finals and Aussies are going to make it.. But still Clarke's match fitness is a call to be taken by him Only he can tell how good or bad he is feeling..

Posted by   on (June 14, 2013, 8:07 GMT)

@Shubham Agarwal. Katich should be in the team no doubt. Along with Pup he was Australia's most consistent test batsmen before being dropped for basically no reason. As for Pup, I hope common sense prevails and he is rested until the ashes.

Posted by   on (June 14, 2013, 6:34 GMT)

I think Australia should have picked Simon Katich...he is an awesome batsman and have FIRST CLASS stats similar to Sachin.. He would have provided the stability and experience tot his vulnerable side. 10000 times better than Hughes.

Posted by   on (June 14, 2013, 4:56 GMT)

Enough already... His back is out most of the time... Australia should find a fitter captain.. The constant change in leadership will never help them build a team.. If Clarke has so many issues with his back that he can play only for a month in a year.. he doesn't deserve to be in professional sports team.

Posted by PrasPunter on (June 14, 2013, 4:41 GMT)

I would rather have him fit for Ashes than an ODI tour.

Posted by austentayshus on (June 14, 2013, 4:39 GMT)

No Michael please don't play this game .. With CT2013 done and dusted .. We would need you more in Ashes series ...... Please don't rush into this

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Andrew McGlashanClose
Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
Tournament Results
England v India at Birmingham - Jun 23, 2013
India won by 5 runs
India v Sri Lanka at Cardiff - Jun 20, 2013
India won by 8 wickets (with 90 balls remaining)
England v South Africa at The Oval - Jun 19, 2013
England won by 7 wickets (with 75 balls remaining)
Australia v Sri Lanka at The Oval - Jun 17, 2013
Sri Lanka won by 20 runs
England v New Zealand at Cardiff - Jun 16, 2013
England won by 10 runs
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