Tag: Michael Clarke

Cricket World Cup: Australia captain Clarke out of England’s World Cup opener

Michael Clarke will not be rushed back for Australia’s World Cup opener against England at the MCG on Saturday.

Australia’s coach Darren Lehmann has confirmed Clarke will instead stick to the original timeline for recovery from his hamstring surgery, and is expected to return against Bangladesh on February 21.

On Thursday morning, Clarke jogged and walked laps of the MCG in a light training session following Australia’s comprehensive win over the UAE, in which he top scored with 64 and bowled two overs. There could have been a temptation for Australia’s selectors to view that performance as evidence he was ready to play against England, but Lehmann said a cautious approach was best.

“Happy with the way he pulled up and really happy with his progress,” Lehmann said. “But we’re going to stick with the plan and he’ll play against Bangladesh. Really happy with the way it’s gone, the way he batted, ran, fielded, bowled, he ticked all the boxes. A good solid week [ahead] and get prepared for Bangladesh.”

Clarke still has some fitness tests to pass before he is cleared to return to the side, but his progress has impressed the team’s medical staff and he is not expected to be in doubt for the Bangladesh game at the Gabba.

“He’s very keen to play but we’ve got to make sure that when he gets back he’ll be ready to go, and he will be on Saturday [next] week,” Lehmann said. “We just had a chat. He’s respectful of what we’re trying to do, get him right. He’s a quality player and a quality leader. Whilst we would have loved to have him available for this game, we’re making sure he’s 100% and ready to go for Bangladesh.”

Clarke was not the only injured player jogging laps at the MCG on Thursday, with all-rounder James Faulkner also enjoying a light training run as he continues his recovery from a side strain. Faulkner has batted in the MCG nets this week but the timeline for his return is unclear. He has no chance of playing against England, and may be reserved for the second half of the tournament.

“He’s batting comfortably now, so that’s a good sign for us,” Lehmann said. “We’re just dictated by the medical team at the moment with that. Hopefully he’ll resume bowling very shortly. We’ll wait and see on that one.”

Faulkner’s absence means Australia will need their other seam-bowling all-rounders, Shane Watson and Mitchell Marsh, to take on a greater bowling workload, but his finishing with the bat will also be greatly missed. Remarkably, Faulkner is currently ranked 22 on the ICC’s ODI batting rankings, and Lehmann said there was some chance he could play as a batsman only.

“We’ll look at those options, depending on where we’re playing and what the conditions are like, and who we’re playing is probably the key,” Lehmann said. “We’ll look at all of those.”

Read more at ESPN

Cricket: Clarke admits he may never play again

Australia’s captain Michael Clarke has admitted he may never play again after chronic back and hamstring problems overtook him during the first Test against India in Adelaide.

Clarke ruled himself out of the remainder of the series following the dramatic and emotional victory on Saturday afternoon, a conclusion he watched from the sidelines after going to hospital where scans confirmed a tear to his right hamstring.

This added to the recurrence of back trouble he suffered on day one, and the left hamstring strains that had upset his preparations for this series. All together they are enough to mean Clarke will not be seen again at least until the preliminaries of Australia’s World Cup campaign in January.

But having grappled with his back problem in particular since it emerged during his teenage years, Clarke has pondered often the length of his career. He was genuinely frank in conceding that at 33 the protests of his body were only getting louder with age.

“The experts are looking at scans now, I don’t know exactly how long I’m going to be out for,” Clarke said. “I think the World Cup, our first practice game is eight weeks away, I’d love to take part in the tri-series, I’d love to take part in the World Cup but I just have to wait and see.

“There’s no doubt there’s certainly a chance [I will miss the World Cup], well there’s a chance I may never play again. I hope that’s not the case and I’ll be doing everything in my power to get back out on the park but I have to be realistic as well.

“My body in general, there’s always that risk. This is a different hamstring, I did my left hamstring, I’ve done my right side of my back, I’ve just done my right hammy. I’ve got injury concerns at the moment, now I’ve got to go back and do what the experts tell me to give myself my best chance of being fully fit. But I think I have to be honest with myself and have a good hard think about things, definitely.”

Despite these words, Clarke said he did not for one moment regret either pushing to play in the match without having played any cricket since he suffered a left hamstring strain against South Africa in Perth in November, nor returning to the wicket to bat on day two after retiring hurt when his back flared up on the first afternoon. Given his closeness to Phillip Hughes and the emotional weight of returning to play after his death, Clarke called it “the most important Test match of my career”.

“I have no regrets about playing this Test match, I have no regrets about going back on the field after I retired hurt,” he said. “I am extremely thankful that Alex Kountouris and Dr Peter Brukner did everything they could to give me a chance to get on the park in this Test match firstly, but then to walk out and score some runs. The rest will take care of itself. I will be guided by the experts and hopefully I’ll get another opportunity to play again this summer.”

Once Clarke had been passed fit to play in Adelaide, he was duty-bound to make every effort to return to the field despite his back condition, this he did through a combination of injections, painkillers and constant work from Australia’s physio Alex Kountouris.

“My back was quite sore,” Clarke said. “I needed some injections and some medication to get me back out onto the park, but I’ve said before that’s part of playing international sport, people do it on a daily basis. Once you walk into the game you have to do whatever it takes to finish that game and it was really important for me to walk back out the next morning.

Read more at ESPN