It's a race against time for Michael Clarke to prove his fitness. While the World Cup begins February 14 and George Bailey will lead Australia in the first match against England on that day, Clarke has been given until the team's second match (against Bangladesh on February 21) to make a full recovery or quit the tournament. (Also read: All World Cup squads named)
Clarke is nursing a hamstring injury and missed a major portion of the Test series against India. Reports suggest he is not too happy with the deadline.
The Australian World Cup squad was announced on Sunday. Clarke was named captain subject to passing a fitness test. While he had ruled himself out of the team's first match, reports suggest the 33-year-old was expecting a longer recovery time.
According to a Sydney Morning Herald report, Clarke was eying the match against Afghanistan (March 4) but has been told to prove fitness 11 days earlier than he expected.
"We had to draw the line somewhere, we just couldn't keep it hanging on and on and on," chief selector Rodney Marsh said. "I think it's good that everyone has that clarity." The February 21 deadlines also has Cricket Australia's approval. (Read more)
While you sleep, I train. While you eat, I train. While you party, I train. February 21 is my goal! http://t.co/aQwZga2be7- Michael Clarke (@MClarke23) January 11, 2015
Clarke and the selectors had also reportedly faced off behind closed doors before the recent Test series against India. In November, Aussie media reported that the captain was told to prove his fitness before the first Test at Adelaide.
Clarke had even said that he may never play cricket again. Clarke played the Adelaide match only to aggravate his injury. Steven Smith was promoted, becoming Australia's 45th Test captain. (Read more)
Smith has won the hearts of former stars with his stunning batting against India. Former cricketers like Ian Chappell want Smith should continue as skipper regardless of Clarke's fitness. (Read more)