Clarke cautious over England match


Published: Friday 6th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Australia captain Michael Clarke is unsure if he will be ready to return for his country’s World Cup opener against England next week.

Clarke is ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation from hamstring surgery which had threatened to rule him out of the tournament, and “pulled up well” after playing for a Cricket Australia XI against Bangladesh in Brisbane on Thursday.

That has raised hope in Australia that the skipper might return for the clash against England at the MCG on February 14, although he remains uncertain.

“I think you should ask that question to the medical staff,” Clarke said.

“I don’t know the answer to that question. I’ve been following their guidelines since day one and I’m extremely grateful and thankful that I sit in this position now because of their advice and guidance, so I will 100 per cent be dictated by what they feel and believe.”

Clarke has been told to prove his fitness by Australia’s second match at the World Cup – against Bangladesh on February 21 – and he admits there is still work to do just to reach that deadline.

Most significantly, Clarke feels his movement in the field will determine if he is able to prove his fitness.

Clarke tore his hamstring in the first Test against India in early December when he bent down to pick up a ball in the outfield.

He worked with Australia’s fielding coach Mike Young yesterday and, after also claiming a catch in the win over Bangladesh, he was enthused by his progress.

“I think that’s probably the area that I need to be 100 per cent satisfied that my body can cope with going 100 miles an hour,” he said.

“That’s the way I’ve always played my cricket and how I want to continue to play.

“I don’t want to be restricted in where I field and how I field, I want to be able to play the kind of cricket I’ve played my whole career.

“I’m always been a believer in fielding being a massive part of having success in any format of the game.

“The gap between me playing yesterday for the CA XI and me walking out and playing a one-day international – there’s still a gap there.

“But I’ll close that gap with the work I do off the field and then once I set foot on the ground I don’t hold anything back.

“I give it 100 per cent and I back the work I’ve done.”

Published: Friday 6th February 2015 by The News Editor

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