Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Australia captain Michael Clarke will fly to the United Arab Emirates one week before the rest of the Test team does, even though he is “not a sure thing” for the two-Test series against Pakistan.
Clarke, who has already been ruled out of the ODI series, is currently recovering after sustaining tendon damage to his hamstring during the recently concluded ODI tri-series against Zimbabwe and South Africa.
“He’s coming to the UAE about a week before the Test side is, now that he’s not playing the one-dayers,” team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said. “He’s coming a day or two after the one-day team. He’ll be there well before he needs to be doing stuff over there. Part of that will be continuing his rehab with myself and the doc, and part of that will be to make sure we get him there [for the Tests].
“We’re planning that he’s not going to miss [the Tests], but he’s not a sure thing either. He’s definitely missing the one-dayers but we’re definitely doing everything we can to get him up. But he’s not going to play unless he’s right. That’ll involve him getting back to full training, running at high speed and giving us the confidence that he’s okay.
“There’s never a good time. If we wait until the second Test, or wait until the first one-dayer against South Africa, whatever we wait for it’s going to be a risk. We’re going to have to play him at some point. We think the time-frames to play the first Test are realistic. He seems to be tracking [well] and he’s likely to be okay and available for that series.”
Clarke initially injured his hamstring during a training session prior to the start of the tri-series in Harare. However, after missing Australia’s first two matches in the tournament, he decided to play against Zimbabwe and ended up aggravating his injury. To add insult to injury, Zimbabwe went on to beat Australia for the first time in 31 years.
Kountouris also noted that the medical team will have to change Clarke’s recovery programme after he has played a match or travelled.
“That’s probably the thing we’re going to try to change the most,” Kountouris said. “What do we do about his recovery post-travel, post-games and post-tours? He got off the plane to Zimbabwe and all he was doing was a light recovery session, and he felt his hamstring grab a bit. At that level of activity we think there has to be other factors involved, not just the traditional fatigue and lack of strength.”
However, Kountouris added that Clarke is expected to start jogging some time this week.
“He’s about to start jogging some time this week,” Kountouris said. “It’s been ten days or two weeks since it happened. We anticipate the way we’re planning his rehab and the importance of getting these tendons to heal that it’s going to take another two or three weeks before we’re really testing him at any sort of intensity with his running.”