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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  • Swan on August 24, 2014, 3:53 GMT

    This is the XI I would go with 1.Finch 2.Hughes 3.M.Marsh 4.G.Bailey* 5.S.Smith 6.G.Maxwell 7.B.Haddin 8.M.Johnson 9.M.Starc 10.K.Richardson 11.N.Lyon

    I think of the left over players Marsh is the one most capable of batting at 3 (the idea of Haddin opening is a ridiculous failed experiment). It will also be a good experience for him. I don't see a play for Faulkner in a full strength attack

  • Tom on August 24, 2014, 3:42 GMT

    @siddhartha87 you make a very good point about nz's bowling. Probably one of the best odi bowling lineups in the world and the area where we trump the aussies. Hope nz can live up to potential for this WC. Aussie selectors please pick Hughes, what more has he got to do to get a place, surely him either opening or 3 with warner wherever hughes isn't.

  • Dummy4 on August 23, 2014, 17:17 GMT

    Australian selectors take a note of this injury to Clark and make alternate arrangements so that heavy upcoming schedule can be coped up , it is well known that Clark is injury prone from now then on an extra all rounder can be included in the squad so that this type situation can easily resolved

  • David on August 23, 2014, 15:58 GMT

    Clarke is very injury prone. At least it's not his back. Obviously, Hughes will now captain the side.

  • siddhartha on August 23, 2014, 15:48 GMT

    Purely on the base of batting depth I think Australia ,India and New Zeland have the best line ups for wc 15. I know India have been blasted by England and we will probably lose to Australia by 0-4 in tests too but when it comes to 50 overs match these 3 are clearly favourites. I will not be surprised if Kiwis end up winning wc 15 as their bowling line up is better than Australia and India in limited overs.

  • ESPN on August 23, 2014, 15:22 GMT

    Without Clarke Possible starting XI would be

    1)Aron Finch 2)David Warner 3)Phil Hughes 4)George Bailey (C) 5)Steve Smith 6)Glenn Maxwell 7)Brad Haddin(WK) 8)Mitchell Marsh 9)Mitchell Johnson 10)Mitchell Starc 11)Nathan Lyon

  • Online on August 23, 2014, 15:04 GMT

    @landl47, @xtrafalgarx You both make very good points and I agree with them. I completely forgot about Maxwell's IPL heroics and his stats in one day international and T20 international cricket which definitely make him worthy of a spot in the lineup as he can change games quickly, like xtrafalgarx says.

    I do think Hughes should be selected over Smith. I think the selectors were influenced by Smith's test form but still, he hasn't got a one day century at even the domestic level. Also, it was unfair to pick Smith over Hughes, as Hughes had far better one day performances of late.

    I also think Hughes should be in the top 3, maybe at 3? He's done quite well there on a few occasions and seems able to adapt. I just think we should pick and stick rather than shuffle around so much, especially as Hughes is in such a purple patch at the moment.

  • Prathap on August 23, 2014, 14:10 GMT

    There is no Doubts. Australia Bating Order : 1. Phil Hughes, 2. Finch, 3. Clarke, 4. Baily, 5. Smith, 6. Maxwell, 7. Haddin, 8. Faulkner, 9. Johnson, 10. Starc, 11. Lyon

  • James on August 23, 2014, 13:51 GMT

    @Dunger.bob: I hope you are right. I guess this squad makes sense if you look at it that way. That they already have a good Idea who is in the best XI and they are just trying to find out who is the next best.

    @Online.gamer: Hughes can only make it into the oneday side as a top 3 player. Warner is a lock, Watson is a lock and it was an open slot before Finch came. Hughes looked to have landed it, but selectors opted for Finch as he is an impact player. Maxwell will make it into the XI every time because he is a gun fielder, can roll the arm over and has the potential to change a game off his own bat.

    The guy im surprised about it Smith. For all the talk of him being suited to one day cricket, his stats don't read all that well at all. I'd pick Hughes over him in ODI's any day.

  • John on August 23, 2014, 13:24 GMT

    @onlinegamer55: the trouble with your line-up is that it relies absolutely on Watson being able to bowl 10 overs and none of the specialist bowlers having a bad day. That's too big a risk in the WC. Replace one of the batsmen with an all-rounder and you have a good side.

    I think Australia go in as clear favourites. The conditions are great for their power hitters, it's at a good time in the Australian season and as xtrafalgarx says there are so many Australians who can do the job that it's hard to know what the best team is. The only side I think can even give them a game is South Africa and SA doesn't have the depth of players that Australia has.

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