Australia in India 2013-14 September 20, 2013

Clarke likely to miss India tour

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Australia's captain Michael Clarke is expected to be ruled out of the forthcoming limited-overs tour to India due to his chronic back troubles. Clarke was named subject to fitness in the 14-man squad to play seven ODIs after he complained of soreness and restricted movement during the closing stages of the long England tour.

However medical staff and the national selectors are conscious of ensuring Clarke is as fit as possible for the Ashes home series to follow, and ESPNcricinfo understands he is likely to be prescribed a period of rest following his exertions in England. This would be a similar outcome to that which followed the end of the India Test tour in March, when Clarke missed the final match of the series.

At the time, Clarke stated he would let the "experts" decide on his fitness for the IPL that followed soon after, and he was duly ruled out of his duties for Pune in the Twenty20 tournament. Clarke spoke in distinctly similar terms when assessing his chances of making the India ODI tour this time around.

"For me right now it's about getting on the phone to Alex Kountouris, the Australian physio, and communicating with him as I have been over the last couple of weeks since he's been back in Australia and we'll make a plan from there," Clarke said. "No doubt it's quite stiff and sore but I'll be guided by the experts on what I need to do now to try and get myself as fit as I can be."

Clarke played the final match of the England ODI series as he successfully sought a winning end to a difficult tour for him and his team. Darren Lehmann, the Australia coach, said that Clarke had insisted on playing at Southampton despite his discomfort, but would be placed in the hands of medical staff to judge his ability to make the India trip.

In Clarke's absence, George Bailey would then lead the team through the series in addition to the opening T20 fixture, while possible replacement batsmen include Callum Ferguson and Nic Maddinson. David Warner is not thought to be in contention for an immediate ODI recall.

Staying at home would allow Clarke the chance to recover fully from his present ailment while also offering extra time to prepare for the Ashes Tests at home, a series that he will be under significant pressure to win having gathered intelligence and confidence against England in the latter stages of the Tests in the northern hemisphere. He may also have the chance to take part in more Sheffield Shield matches prior to the first Test at the Gabba.

The back condition that has affected Clarke at numerous junctures across his career is not entirely linked to fatigue, as shown when it reared soon after his arrival in England earlier this year, ruling him out of the Champions Trophy. However regular rest over time may allow his career to go on further than it might if he maintains a diet of constant cricket.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • kjambur on September 26, 2013, 8:49 GMT

    Ha ha. India continues to be a pain in the back for Clarke. eh?

  • AKS286 on September 22, 2013, 10:22 GMT

    A bad news for indians they want players like Clarke. Indians scores big totals & has the capacity to chase down big totals in limited over cricket; As I mentioned before CT'13 the batting avg & S/R are awesome till no.6 batting line up. Now Clarke who scores very rarely a century and with a mediocre S/R of mid 70s are ideal combinations to score or chase 230-240. So indians wants batsmen like this. Finch, Marsh, Watto, Bailey, Voges, Haddin, Moises, Johnson, Mckay, Beer, Doherty

  • Shaggy076 on September 22, 2013, 7:38 GMT

    Landl47.; I can't understand your logic, Clarke is a great player but Australia have enough power hitters to compete in one day cricket in India. The shorter form is an obsessionin India the pitches will be flat as this is now more about entertainment. A couple of batsman come off against a military attack and Australia can easily win with or without Clarke.

  • landl47 on September 22, 2013, 6:01 GMT

    @Jono Makim: Really? How did Australia get on in the Champions Trophy without Clarke? And that was in English conditions and they didn't even play India, who won the trophy. Aus had just come off a 4-0 whitewash by India in the test series and that was with Clarke for 3 of the games.

    George Bailey is a good captain and a decent player. Michael Clarke he isn't. Even with Clarke, as well as Bailey, Australia would have struggled to be competitive. Without Clarke, if they win one game I think they'll have done well.

  • dummy4fb on September 21, 2013, 7:03 GMT

    @Landl47, I think you are selling Bailey well short if you don't think he is capable of filling Clarke's shoes in white ball cricket. He has an exceptional record to date and is only going to get better, I reckon.

    I think and hope Maxi will come in at 6 or 7 in this series and I'm hoping for some major power hitting from him, let the big show begin!

  • 1st_april on September 21, 2013, 4:01 GMT

    @Chris_P Watson and Haddin are important cogs in their batting machine.....Hughes might travel to India too , albeit he never plays more than 2 tests in an Ashes....the friable fitness of their fast bowlers doesn't allow them to play limited overs...already Cummins , Starc are out....from that facet , they are taking the possible best of the test :-P

  • siri12345 on September 21, 2013, 2:13 GMT

    its another series where india will take it damn seriously and opposition doesnot care type of series.i wander how many such type of series india has played in last 4 -5 years.barring the 2011 worldcup i cannot remember a single series which india has won where the opposition has taken the series seriously.i can give examples to support my fact.when india went eng and aus to play the all imp test series the result indicates everything.then eng and pak came ind and took their respecvtive series very importantly and thus the result in their favour.on the other hand ind managed to beat eng in the odi series which eng didnt give a damn about.the same occured in champions trophy.they caught eng preparing for ashes trophy and thus inspite of being the weaker team out of two india managed victorious as suddenly eng realised that winning the champions trophy will not take them any where in terms of ashes preparation so the two careless shots from ravi and morgan when eng were just cruisin

  • popcorn on September 21, 2013, 0:19 GMT

    Good idea to rest Clarke.We need him fit for The Ashes. Better idea to rest Watson,Bailey,Johnson,Haddin - we need these five to play more Sheffield Shield 4 day games than meaningless ODIs on slow Indian pitches.Let's send an Australia A Team to India to get International Cricket practice.Maybe a star will emerge for the World Cup.

  • OneEyedAussie on September 20, 2013, 23:12 GMT

    Good move. Ferguson or White can do a close enough job with the bat in Clarke's stead.

  • landl47 on September 20, 2013, 22:43 GMT

    If Clarke isn't fit, he shouldn't play, but let's be honest, it kills the series. Clarke is not only the captain, he's one of only two world class batsmen Australia has in the ODI format (the other is Watson). In the 2 games Aus won in England he scored 105 and 75. Without him Aus would have lost every game and I'm afraid that's what will happen in India.

    I hope the rest will pull together and make a fight of it, but this isn't a great Australian squad and without Clarke they aren't even good.