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August 24, 2014
Michael Clarke has said he might need to consider arriving for future overseas tours ahead of his team-mates to allow himself extra time to ensure he is at full fitness. Clarke hurt his left hamstring on Friday at Australia's first training session in Zimbabwe and he believes he is vulnerable to injuries immediately after long-haul flights.
Last year, Clarke was ruled out of Australia's Champions Trophy campaign when his chronic back injury caused him problems upon arriving in England. He said that while Australia's next tour to the UAE should not be an issue - the series starts with a T20 that he would not play in any case, giving him extra preparation time - future tours could require him to travel ahead of his team-mates.
"It's only taken 12 years to work it out," Clarke told reporters in Harare. "What I've learned through my career is that I probably need more time than most in regards to the gap between getting off a plane and training at full intensity. If it means I have to fly a couple of days earlier than the boys on the long trips then that's what I've got to do.
"It's hard because I'm a big believer in travelling with the team. Generally when I travel to the UK there aren't too many times that I haven't got injured at the start of the series and I'm normally at my most vulnerable at the start of a series. I think I've got to be smarter with that, or at least try and work out how I can travel with the team but also do what's best to make sure I can play that first game."
Next year could be particularly gruelling for Clarke, with Australia set for a Test tour of the West Indies, followed by another Ashes tour of England, before heading to Bangladesh for Tests in October. With such a heavy schedule over the next 18 months, the Australians appear unlikely to take any risks with Clarke, which could mean he misses Monday's tri-series opener against Zimbabwe.
Coach Darren Lehmann said he considered Clarke a 50-50 prospect to take the field on Monday.
"He's desperate to play," Lehmann said. "We're obviously desperate for our captain to play full-stop so hopefully he'll get through [today's] session and we'll make a decision from there."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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