Australia news August 31, 2014

Clarke to head home with hamstring injury

ESPNcricinfo staff

Michael Clarke will head back to Australia to nurse the hamstring he injured during the tri-series match against Zimbabwe on Sunday. Playing his first match of the series, Clarke batted for over two hours and was troubled by the issue in the latter part of his innings, but top-scored on a turning pitch with 68 before retiring in the 43rd over.

"Prognosis for me is I'm on a plane in the next 24 hours to go home and have scans and see what results are and go from there," Clarke said. "I really wanted to take part in this series and help Australia have some success but that's not going to be the case."

Clarke returned to the field in the 19th over of Zimbabwe's innings, taking the captaincy back from George Bailey, and also bowled an over towards the end. When asked the reason for his taking to the field despite the niggle, he said, "It was more the fact that if things weren't going to go the way I wanted them to go I wanted to make sure I was accountable for that. I didn't think it was fair to leave that to George. It was up to me to help the team win and if we didn't get the result we wanted then I'm 100 per cent accountable for that. No idea (about tear) or if I did more damage by going back out."

Clarke had initially injured the hamstring - believed to be triggered by the long-haul flight - during a training session after arriving in Zimbabwe and was forced to sit out Australia's first two matches. He had said on Friday that he needed more time compared to others to adjust after long-distance travel and would consider travelling earlier for important tours in future.

Last year, Clarke missed the Champions Trophy in England when his chronic back injury caused him problems upon arrival in the country. Australia's next tour is against Pakistan in the UAE and it kicks off with a T20, which Clarke will not play, allowing him extra time to adjust. The next year could be gruelling for Clarke with a number of overseas tours stacked up.

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  • John on September 2, 2014, 0:30 GMT

    I can't help thinking that, given his injury issues, Clarke might be best to give up the limited-overs stuff and save himself for Test cricket. He's still an asset in ODIs but if playing them reduces his availability or effectiveness in Tests then it's a net loss.

  • James on September 1, 2014, 13:53 GMT

    @Landl47: As the English fan that you are, i wouldn't hedge my bets on things going wrong for Australia. If i were you, i'd be wary of the the fact that the bowlers you mention won't be injured forever, i'd be wary that Hughes, as Johnson did this summer, might have the last laugh after all his struggles, i'd be wary that maybe all of the bits and pieces players you mentioned may find their way. Prepare for the worst, but be prepared for the best - that's always the way i look at things, that's just me though.

  • John on September 1, 2014, 12:47 GMT

    @Aussie_Nate: Pardon my scepticism, but Hughes has played 26 tests and averages 32, Pattinson and Cummins are always injured, Bird and Faulkner have 4 tests between them and aren't even in the test squad at the moment, and Finch, Nevill and Whiteman haven't played a single test. To say that they are putting their hands up for tests is stretching it a bit, don't you think?

    Warner, Smith and Lyon are doing well, but only Smith can still be called a young (25 or under) gun. England had 8 25 or under players in the 13-man squad that just beat India in the tests.

    I'm the first to say (and have said it loudly and often) that England's ODI side as it presently is made up has no chance in the WC and that Australia, if everyone's fit, is the favourite. However, take away two or three of the older players and Aus looks pretty vulnerable, though more in tests than ODIs, where the bits and pieces players like Faulkner, Marsh and Maxwell can flourish.

  • Nathan on September 1, 2014, 7:49 GMT

    @ Landl47 Rogers has never been apart of the ODI side and Harris has only played 21 ODI's, so they're not going to be missed much for one day matches.

    For tests we have plenty of young guys putting up their hand. Hughes and Finch for Rogers, Faulkner for Watson, Pattinson and Cummins (if ever fit) for Mitch, Neville and Whiteman for Haddin, Bird for Siddle.

    Our young guys are putting up their hand, it's just that they can't force out the old guard, or remain injury free for long enough. At least Warner, Smith and Lyon have now secured their place.

  • Ross on September 1, 2014, 6:10 GMT

    My ability to combat jetlag and watch the whole Zimbabwe innings, Clarke needs to be a better judge of when he is fit. And please bring back Mitch and the Mo. There's a clear correlation between lack of Mitch and lack of victory here. And can we drop Hughes, is it not blindingly obvious that the man can't play spin, if he looked so lost against the Zimbabwe spinners then imagine what the sub continent teams will do to him.

  • subhasish on September 1, 2014, 5:33 GMT

    cooper to replace clarke plz aus

  • Dummy4 on September 1, 2014, 4:36 GMT

    clarke need more rest to get fit for World Cup hosted by his country early next year.

  • Dummy4 on September 1, 2014, 0:38 GMT

    I think Clarke should retire from ODI and concentrate on Test cricket. Also all the batsmen need to work how to play spin. This seems to always be a problem for them and it really shouldn't be especially with all the specialist coaches we have now days.

  • John on August 31, 2014, 20:21 GMT

    Sorry to see Clarke struggling. He's a great player and a very good captain and I hope he will be back to full fitness for the WC.

    This game illustrated how vulnerable Australia can be. Haddin, almost 37, and Clarke were the only two to make runs; Johnson, 33 this year, was rested and Watson was out. Harris is just about done and Rogers is also almost 37. That's the core of the side. The younger players need to start putting their hand up.

  • disco on August 31, 2014, 19:33 GMT

    Our most valuable Test asset should only be playing Tests anyway.

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