Melbourne:Pacer Stuart Clarke was on Thursday ruled out of Australia's Test tour to South Africa after he failed to recover from an elbow injury.
Cricket Australia's National Selection Panel (NSP) said it would like to give further time to Clark, who underwent surgery six weeks ago to remove bone spurs from his right elbow, to recover from his injury and therefore he will not be considered for selection for the upcoming Test tour of South Africa.
The right-arm fast bowler will also miss New South Wales' Sheffield Shield match against Tasmania today, which the selectors are expected to use to pick the squad for the tour of South Africa.
"The NSP has been advised that unfortunately Stuart Clark has had to withdraw from the Weet-Bix Sheffield Shield match to be played tomorrow to give his elbow further time to recover following his recent surgery," NSP Chairman Andrew Hilditch said in a statement.
"Given the schedule of the Australian team over the next 12 months, including an Ashes series, the NSP will be taking a conservative approach in regards to the management of Stuart's recovery and his return to cricket is prudent. Stuart has outlined he hopes to play again for New South Wales at the end of February, a decision that will be made in close consultation with Australian and New South Wales medical staff.
"Unfortunately due to this Stuart will not be considered for selection in the Test squad for South Africa which will be announced next week and leaves for South Africa on 16 February," he added.
With Brett Lee already ruled out of the tour, Clark's absence could further dent Australia's hopes of winning against Graeme Smith's team after the Proteas humiliated them both in the Test and one-day series.
The speed duo's absence would also mean that Australia would go in with an inexperienced pace attack, with Mitchell Johnson the only regular face.
Australia's first Test against South Africa takes place in Johannesburg from February 26.