England v Australia: Michael Clarke faces race against time to be fit for Ashes
Wednesday 27 March 2013
Michael Clarke, Australia’s captain and only batsman in form, faces a 10-week lay-off as he undergoes intensive rehabilitation on his back in an attempt to ensure he will last the course during this summer’s Ashes, although it is not certain he will be fit for the first Test in July.
Clarke has long been dogged by back problems and returned home early from the tour of India for further treatment. He will sit out the Indian Premier League, which begins next week, and is also likely to miss the Champions Trophy in June in order to concentrate on being fit for the start of the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge on 10 July.
Clarke, whose form since taking over the captaincy has been outstanding, has also been troubled by hamstring problems – a common accompaniment to a back injury.
“Michael is having intensive rehabilitation for both his back and hamstring but is still seven to 10 weeks away from returning to training and playing,” said Justin Paoloni, Cricket Australia’s chief medical officer. “We are confident that it will not affect his Ashes preparation but will know more over the coming weeks.
“Michael had scans that confirmed his current lower-back injury is an exacerbation of previous issues he has had with his spine. We need to manage this carefully as there are potentially serious consequences with further aggravation. He still has pain with basic activities and is not back to full function. He also has a hamstring injury that will complicate his return.”
From July, Australia and England will play a total of 10 Tests and an accompanying one-day series, first in England followed by a return engagement Down Under. They are matches for which Australia cannot afford to be without Clarke. He has been in the form of his life, scoring Australia’s only century on their disastrous tour of India before the back problems flared up again.
In his absence, Shane Watson led the side for the fourth Test, but after a poor series with the bat his place is far from secure. Injury continues to hamper attempts to establish a regular line-up. Pat Cummins, the 19-year-old fast-bowling prospect, is out of the Ashes with a stress fracture to his back, while Mitchell Starc and Jackson Bird, two other seamers, are also struggling to be fit.
MK Dons 4 Manchester United 0: Emmanuel Frimpong and Edin Dzeko lead the jokes as the internet reacts to humiliating defeat
Paul Scholes: Manchester City were so good against Liverpool I felt like turning the television off
Manchester United transfer news: Daley Blind will only move for 'top price'
Arsenal vs Besiktas match report: Alexis Sanchez scores only goal as Gunners survive night of nerves to qualify for Champions League
Arsenal vs Besiktas player ratings: Alexis Sanchez? Jack Wilshere? Mesut Ozil? Who was the star man at the Emirates Stadium?
- 1 Miley Cyrus' homeless MTV VMAs date, Jesse Helt, is wanted by the police
- 2 Arizona shooting: Gun instructor accidentally killed by nine-year-old girl with Uzi
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Arizona shooting: Gun instructor accidentally killed by nine-year-old girl with Uzi