Clarke declared fit for first Test against India

"He's a strong captain and we need him out there in this tough series"

“He’s a strong captain and we need him out there in this tough series”

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Australia captain Michael Clarke has been declared fit for the first Test against India, which gets underway on December 9 in Adelaide.

There were doubts about whether Clarke would play the first Test following the tragic death of his team-mate and friend Phillip Hughes. In addition to that, Clarke has also been recovering from a hamstring injury he sustained during the recent ODI series against South Africa.

Australia have also confirmed that pace bowler Josh Hazlewood and batsman Shaun Marsh have been dropped for the first Test.

“It’s a huge boost to have him back in and playing for us,” left-arm pace bowler Mitchell Johnson said. “I think with his captaincy and how strong he’s been over the last couple of weeks with the tragedy we’ve had, it’s really nice to have him back. He’s a strong captain and we need him out there in this tough series.

“He’s a strong leader. He has been an aggressive leader. We’ve always had pretty aggressive fields. He has just grown as a captain and as a person. So to have him in the batting order as well, the amount of runs that he’s scored, he’s really keen to get out there and score some more for Australia.

“He just has something about him when he’s out there as captain. Everyone listens. You’re sort of watching him and he just goes about the job really well. He’s a huge boost for us in our line-up. I really hope that he can go out there and score a lot of runs for us. We all know that he’s really keen to do that. He’s a huge part and we’re glad that he’s back.”

It has also been revealed that Hughes will be the “13th man” during the Test match.

“It’s really special. His family, I think that would make them very proud,” Johnson said. I’m very proud to be able to wear that number through this Test. We’ve named him as the 13th man as well. It’s all very special.

“It’s going to be an emotional morning and probably looking at it from our first little part of the game, for me going out there and bowling the first spell might be the most difficult. Then it might just get into the game a bit more but I think mentally, we’ve had a few training sessions, the vibe’s good.

“Everyone’s really keen to get out there and play some cricket now. That’s our goal and I guess we’re going to wait and see how we all feel because we’re all going to feel a little bit different but I’m really looking forward to going out there. It’s a good place to play. I know that as a bowling unit, we’re sticking together and we’re all ready to go.”

Australia Test squad: Michael Clarke (capt), Chris Rogers, David Warner, Shane Watson, Steven Smith, Mitchell Marsh, Brad Haddin (wk), Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon.

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