Zimbabwe Triangular Series 2014 August 22, 2014

Clarke in doubt for ODI opener

ESPNcricinfo staff

Australia are likely to be without captain Michael Clarke for their first ODI against Zimbabwe after he suffered a hamstring injury at training in Harare on Friday.

Clarke experienced pain in his left hamstring while warming up for the team's first practice session ahead of the tri-series and after having treatment in the dressing room, he took no further part in training.

Australia's first match is against Zimbabwe on Monday, leaving Clarke little time to recover if he was to take his place in the side. Vice-captain George Bailey will lead the side if Clarke is ruled out.

"We will monitor his condition closely over the next 24 hours to see how he responds to further treatment before making a decision on his management," David Beakley, the team physiotherapist, said.

Australia's heavy schedule over the next few months means they would appear unlikely to take any risks with Clarke. It could also guarantee a place in the side for Phillip Hughes, who was a late inclusion in the squad as a replacement for the injured Shane Watson.

Hughes enters the series in remarkable form after scoring a pair of double-centuries against South Africa A, but coach Darren Lehmann said before the team departed that he was no certainty to be part of the XI for the first match.

However, if Clarke misses out, Australia's selectors would have to bring in Hughes due to the dearth of batsmen in the squad. Without Clarke, Australia's batting line-up in Zimbabwe comprises Hughes, Aaron Finch, Bailey, Steven Smith, wicketkeeper-batsman Brad Haddin and allrounders Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Marsh.

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