Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Australia captain Michael Clarke is currently in a race against time to be fit for the national team’s upcoming tour of the United Arab Emirates, where they will face Pakistan next month.
Clarke recently flew home from the ODI tri-series in Zimbabwe after aggravating his hamstring injury. He is now undergoing an intensive rehabilitation programme in an attempt to ensure that he is fully fit prior to the start of the tour.
If Clarke were to be ruled out of the series, it would be a massive blow for Australia since they are already without the services of pace bowler Ryan Harris, who is still recovering from knee surgery, and batsman Shaun Marsh, who is recovering from elbow surgery.
There is also a cloud of doubt around all-rounder Shane Watson, who stepped on a cricket ball and injured his ankle during a training session in Brisbane. However, flamboyant opening batsman David Warner is expected to return after he missed the ODI tri-series since he and his fiancée are expecting their first child.
“Michael Clarke had an MRI scan on returning from Zimbabwe that has confirmed a left hamstring muscle injury,” Cricket Australia physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said. “He will have intensive rehabilitation for this injury and we will be monitoring his progress over the next week before deciding when he can return to training and playing.”
Clarke initially injured his hamstring during a training session in Harare prior to the start of the tri-series, which involves Zimbabwe and South Africa.
After missing the first two games of the tournament, Clarke believed that he was fit enough to play in the Baggy Greens’ third game, which came against Zimbabwe. Despite scoring an unbeaten 68 during that match and aggravating his hamstring injury, Clarke could do nothing but watch as his side were beaten by the African nation for the first time in 31 years.
Clarke also recently said that he wanted to travel earlier than the rest of his team-mates for overseas tours in order to ensure that he is fit and healthy prior to the start of a series.
However, if he wants to be fit for the tour of the United Arab Emirates, then he better be ready before October 5, which is when the one-off Twenty20 International against Pakistan gets underway in Dubai.