ICC World Cup: Clarke withholds Aussie team amid dire weather forecast
Brisbane: Returning skipper Michael Clarke is keeping the makeup of his Australian team under wraps as deteriorating weather threatens Saturday's World Cup match against Bangladesh in Brisbane.
Clarke, who is back after hamstring surgery, said concerns over the format of the game amid forecasts of flooding rain from Tropical Cyclone Marcia lashing the Queensland coast would prevent him from revealing his hand. The game could be drastically reduced or even washed out completely given the forecast with Bangladesh in line to at least come out with an unexpected point given the severity of the weather forecast.
A minimum of 20 overs per side are needed to constitute a match. Each team will be awarded a point should the match be declared a no result. "We've selected a team but I'm not going to announce it today in case the format of the game changes," Clarke told reporters Friday.
"So if it becomes a 40-over game, a 20-over game whatever it is that gives the selectors options if they want to change the team, so I don't think it would be smart of me to announce that right now." The match will be Clarke's first ODI since undergoing hamstring surgery in December, but his highly-anticipated return could be curtailed by the elements. Clarke said Australia would not take Bangladesh lightly if they got on the field on Saturday. Australia have lost only once to Bangladesh in 18 ODIs, the five-wicket defeat coming in Cardiff in 2005.
"The forecast is obviously not great but to be honest our main focus is on the people of Queensland," Clarke said. "(But) if we get on the field we will be 100 per cent ready." Australia had been tipped to unleash four quicks on a bouncy Gabba deck but Clarke would not give anything away on Friday. Clarke said he was primed for a comeback after being rested from Australia's World Cup opening win over England.
"This is the first time in my career that I have had to have surgery," said Clarke, who suffered the hamstring injury in the first Test against India in December. "I had niggles in the past but I haven't missed as much cricket as I have in the last couple of months. But I put faith in my preparation and work I have done. "I am 100 percent confident I can walk out on the field and help the team achieve success."
Stand-in skipper George Bailey is tipped to make way for Clarke. Australia abandoned training at the Gabba indoor nets on Friday, opting for Brisbane's National Cricket Centre. Opening batsman Aaron Finch tweeted: "Flippers and goggles are all packed for training today!!"