Michael Clarke has arrived in New Zealand to prepare for the two-Test series after taking a week off to deal with the breakdown of his engagement. Clarke did not speak to the media on his departure in Sydney on Monday morning or after landing in Wellington and was flanked by team officials and security at both ends of the trip.
Clarke, the vice-captain, was given time off by Cricket Australia to deal with his personal life but his team-mates are confident he will be in Test mode by the start of Friday's opening game at the Basin Reserve. After missing the final three one-day internationals in the 3-2 series win over New Zealand, Clarke's next step is to train with the squad on Tuesday.
Mark Greatbatch, the New Zealand coach, said Clarke would be treated as just another batsman during the series. "He's a qualified and wonderful Test player, we'll have plans to bowl to him like we have for the other guys," he said. "He won't be any different."
Phillip Hughes, Steven Smith, Marcus North and Simon Katich also touched down in New Zealand to join the outfit. Smith, the batsman-legspinner, is on a high after his selection in the squad and he also won the Steve Waugh Medal as New South Wales' player of the year in Sydney on Sunday.