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Confusion over Michael Clarke playing Brisbane Test

Injured Australia skipper firm on playing first Test against India on December 4 despite selectors almost ruling him out

Sydney: Injured Australian skipper Michael Clarke said yesterday he will miss a vital lead-up game, raising fresh doubts about his chances of playing in next month's first Test against India.

Michael Clarke. Pic/Getty Images
Michael Clarke. Pic/Getty Images 

Clarke, who was named in a 12-man squad yesterday subject to a fitness test on his left hamstring, was selected to play for a Cricket Australia XI against the tourists in Adelaide on Friday.

Clarke later confirmed that he will not be playing in that match, placing his position in the Test squad in doubt. "I've been pulled out of, or passed unfit to play the game in Adelaide," Clarke told reporters in Sydney.

"The medical team in the Australian cricket team have ruled me out of that game." But he said he was hopeful of playing in a Sydney club game at the weekend to prove his fitness, if he was allowed to take part. "I would hope with my experience that the selectors, my teammates, Cricket Australia, will all respect my opinion," he said.

Clarke has been struggling to avoid missing his first home Test match after injuring the hamstring in the recent one-day series against South Africa in Perth. He also continues to undergo daily treatment for an ongoing back condition.

Should he pad-up and recover well, he will take his place in the Brisbane Test side, said Chief selector Rod Marsh, adding that no risk would be taken with Clarke's long-standing troublesome hamstring. "With his recent history, we can't have him breaking down in the first innings of a Test match," Marsh told reporters.

"We would never ever rest the Australian captain in the first Test of a series. But if he's not fit, obviously he can't play." Marsh added that "we can safely assume he won't be playing the Test" if he is not ready by Wednesday, with the subsequent two-day game essential for him to prove his fitness. No possible Test replacement has been named.

Hazlewood called up
Meanwhile, uncapped New South Wales paceman Josh Hazlewood was rewarded with a call-up to the squad for his strong recent performances against South Africa in the one-day series.

Ausralia squad for first Test
Michael Clarke (captain), Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Chris Rogers, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, David Warner, Shane Watson.

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