Michael Clarke Uncertain for Test Series Against Pakistan

Australia skipper Michael Clarke, who said he was improving daily from hamstring tendon damage, is adamant he will not play the two Test series vs Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates unless 100 percent fit.

Updated: September 25, 2014 17:47 IST
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Michael Clarke Australia vs Zimbabwe
Clarke said he will be guided by the team physio on when to return to action.


Sydney: Australia captain Michael Clarke said Thursday he will be guided by the team physio on whether he will play in next month's two-Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.

The 33-year-old plans to fly out on Tuesday, six days ahead of the rest of the Test squad, to ensure he is acclimatised before beginning to stretch himself at training.

Clarke, who said he was improving daily from hamstring tendon damage, is adamant he will not play unless 100 percent fit.

"Alex knows my body very well," Clarke told reporters of Alex Kountouris, the Australian physio.

"He'll be the one that gives me the all clear to play the Test matches if he thinks I'm fully fit. If I pass what Alex needs me to pass that will give me a lot of confidence as well."

Clarke, who has a catalogue of back and hamstring trouble, has already been ruled out of the upcoming one-day series against Pakistan with what was described as a "significant" hamstring injury that was worse than first thought.

He was forced to retire hurt in a one-dayer against Zimbabwe in Harare on August 31 and returned home from the tour early.

Subsequent scans revealed tendon damage in the affected area.

The three-game one-day series against Pakistan starts on October 7 with the first of two Tests not until October 22.

Meanwhile, Clarke insisted fellow veteran Shane Watson's Test career was not finished after the injury-plagued allrounder was ruled out of the entire UAE tourwith an ankle injury, opening the door for Mitch Marsh.

He said Watson, 33, could expect more injuries and increased competition for his spot between now and when he retires, but that he still had plenty to offer, especially looking ahead to next year's World Cup and Ashes series against England.

"I think if Watto is batting and bowling, he's a huge part of our team, but he's obviously got some stiff competition now as well," Clarke said.

"Watto's greatest challenge has been trying to stay fit and healthy and I think we also need to understand and respect that he's pushed his body to the max being a batsman and bowler.

"He bowls at a good pace and is a destructive batter so there's still going to be injuries for the rest of his career," he added.

"If Watto can get himself fit and healthy he'll certainly play a lot more Tests, one-day and Twenty20 cricket for Australia."

Clarke said two recent hundreds for Australia A meant Marsh was ready for Test cricket.

"I guess that's a big part of why I gave him an opportunity to bat at No.3 in (the one-dayers) in Zimbabwe," he said.

"He's ready... it's about getting an opportunity. The selectors will make that decision and I'm sure he'll grab it with both hands."

Pakistan have played their home series at neutral venues, such as the UAE, since militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in 2009.

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