Clarke unlikely for Boxing Day Test

Sportal Updated December 18, 2012, 12:10 am
Michael Clarke

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Australia coach Mickey Arthur has conceded captain Michael Clarke is in genuine doubt for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne after suffering a hamstring strain on Monday.

Clarke retired hurt on 57 after a brief consultation with team physio Alex Kountouris as Australia made their way to a 392-run lead over Sri Lanka on day four in Hobart.

The skipper appeared to pull up short after running a single during his sizzling cameo knock - perhaps fortunate for Sri Lanka but potentially devastating for the Australian outfit given Clarke's career-best form and tactical nous.

Arthur suggested all-rounder Shane Watson would take on the top job should Clarke not recover in time for the second Test.

"It is a distinct possibility, it would be a really good challenge for Shane," Arthur said. "We'll learn a lot about Shane and his leadership ability. I'm confident he will come through it very well."

"If it (Clarke's absence) does materialise it will be a really good opportunity for him (Watson)."

Clarke's injury comes in the wake of a side strain suffered by paceman Ben Hilfenhaus on Sunday and is likely to mean the home side enter the biggest day on the Australian cricket calendar with a significantly altered line-up.

Arthur said Clarke would undergo scans in Hobart on Monday night and more would be known on Tuesday as to whether the in-form 31-year-old was likely to come up for Boxing Day.

If not, he nominated veteran keeper/batsman Brad Haddin as one of four potential replacements.

"There are possibilities. (Brad) Haddin is one of them, (Rob) Quiney's one of them and certainly Usman Khawaja is very much in the frame. Alex Doolan has played well, also," Arthur said.

Arthur also speculated on a couple of likely replacements for Hilfenhaus, the Tasmanian quick now likely to be sidelined for the rest of the series.

"All I can say is we've had a list of bowlers leading into our summer and we're well down the list at the moment. But it's going to be a fantastic opportunity for a couple of those guys," he said.

"The names on everyone's lips are guys like Jackson Bird, it could be Nathan Coulter-Nile, and that will form part of the discussions we have tonight."

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3 Comments

  1. Hidden Fortress03:21pm Tuesday 18th December 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    I like the way the 12th man, a guy with 196 Test wickets, Mitchell Johnson doesnt rate a mention from Arthur. Its typical of the way the (mis)management of the team has gone. A guy that has got the job done for us 196 times is trashed to make way for the flavor of the week, who like Quiney just take up space.

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  2. Hidden Fortress12:29pm Tuesday 18th December 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    Great opportunity for Khawaja to improve his Test average from 29 and get some more top level experience, we might need him in England if Cowan doesnt improve. Weve got Doolan waiting in the wings too. 2 young gun batsmen on the edge are the future of the team and it looks bright. Forget the old guys Cowan and Quiney, and (!) Haddin, we need players that have played 30 tests by the time they are 30, not guys playing their first test at age 30.

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  3. Glib07:54am Tuesday 18th December 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    Not enough running training.

    Reply
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