Champions Trophy 2013 June 14, 2013

Clarke hopeful of Sri Lanka return

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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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb 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)

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • dummy4fb 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.

  • 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..

  • dummy4fb 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.

  • dummy4fb 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.

  • dummy4fb 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.

  • PrasPunter on June 14, 2013, 4:41 GMT

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

  • 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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