Back-trouble victim Michael Clarke expects to be fit for the Ashes


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The Independent Online

Australia captain Michael Clarke has no idea how serious his latest back problem is, but insisted it was “very unlikely” the injury would keep him out of the Ashes.

Clarke has returned to Sydney after he was ruled out of the fourth Test against India in Delhi. He will undergo scans early next week to determine the extent of the damage before making a decision on whether he will be available for the Indian Premier League, starting next month.

“I don’t really know [how the injury is] at this stage,” Clarke said at Sydney Airport. “I’m just off a plane, so I’ll have scans next week and spend plenty of time with the physio and, fingers crossed, hopefully it pulls up OK.

“It’s a little bit sore. Sitting down for 12 hours has made it a little bit stiff but I’m really confident that I’ll go and have the scans first, hopefully they’ll come back pretty positive and I’m in good hands with my physio here in Sydney.

“I haven’t even thought about [the IPL], to be honest; right now it’s about having the scans and waiting to see what the results say. I think I need to wait on the results, listen to the experts and then make a plan from there.”

Pressed on whether the injury could rule him out of the Ashes series starting in July, Clarke replied: “I hope not. Right now I’m not really in a position to say because I don’t know what the scans say. I think it’s very unlikely I’ll miss the Champions Trophy and the Ashes.”

Clarke admitted the India series was one of the toughest challenges of his career, but said his players would be better for their sub-continent experience.

Asked what lessons Australia had learned in India ahead of the five-Test series against England, he said: “Conditions are a lot different [in India] to what you face in Australia, and certainly what you face over in England, so I think we’ve seen throughout the series guys have learned and guys have improved.”