Michael Clarke’s fitness to be reassessed ahead of Day 2 at Adelaide

By Jaideep Vaidya

Cricket Australia confirmed that Australian captain Michael Clarke had received injections in his lower back and his condition will be re-assessed on Wednesday morning.

Clarke retired hurt on 60 on day one of the first Test against India at the Adelaide Oval, after a recurrence of his long-time back injury. After batting for 115 minutes and hitting nine boundaries, the 33-year-old felt some discomfort in his lower back after negotiating a short-pitched delivery from Ishant Sharma and immediately summoned the team doctor and physiotherapist.

Clarke, who was diagnosed with three degenerative discs at the age of 17, also injured his hamstring during Australia’s one-dayer with South Africa in Perth last month.

The Australian skipper was doubtful to be fit for the originally scheduled dates for the first Test against India, starting December 4 at Brisbane.

However, the death of compatriot Phil Hughes a fortnight ago led to the dates being pushed back, with the first Test beginning on December 9 at Adelaide.

Clarke’s latest setback is bound to raise questions over Australia’s selection policies, particularly as to why they let Clarke risk himself by playing the Adelaide Test.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland admitted to ABC radio shortly after Clarke retired hurt that the circumstances surrounding Hughes’s death and Clarke’s role as a captain in the aftermath had overruled the question of his fitness.

“Everyone was working together with the same thing in mind to try to get Michael recovered and fit and ready to play,” Sutherland said. “There may well have been some slightly different views about what was best in terms of preparation, but really that’s all a moot point now.

“Things have moved on, we’ve seen the extraordinary and tragic circumstances of Phillip’s death and we hope Michael’s okay and he’s back on the ground very soon. It’s always a worrying sign when the Australian captain’s carrying any sort of injury. We’ll leave it in the capable hands of [physio] Alex Kountouris and he can weave a bit of magic overnight perhaps.”

Photo courtesy: Steve Baty (Creative Commons)


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