Michael Clarke faces Ashes fitness race

Injured Australian batsman Michael Clarke is unlikely to face England in this week's first Ashes test unless he bats in training on Tuesday, captain Ricky Ponting said today.

Vice-captain Clarke suffered a recurrence of a long-term lower back problem in a recent Sheffield Shield match and failed to suit up for nets on Monday in Brisbane, where the first test begins on Thursday.



"He's been in this situation a few times in the last couple of years, he's had these niggly things with his back and been able to come up most times," Ponting told reporters in Brisbane.



"If we don't see him bat tomorrow then I think it will be hard to see him considered for the game.



"It will depend on how much he is able to do tomorrow and Wednesday but someone as important to our team as he is we'd probably wait until Thursday morning."



Uncapped batsman Usman Khawaja was brought into the squad on Monday as cover for Clarke, who has hit 4,549 runs in 64 tests since making his debut in 2004.



"Didn't train today, back a little stiff," Clarke posted on his Twitter page. "Confident if I keep listening to our physio and doing the right things I will be fit for thurs."



Free-scoring Khawaja was in the original 17-strong squad for the test but dropped when it was reduced to 13 on Saturday after he failed to impress for Australia A against England in Hobart.



"As there is some doubt over Michael Clarke's fitness for the Brisbane test match, it was felt prudent to bring a standby player into the squad," chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch said in a news release.



"We intend to give Michael as much time as possible to prove his fitness and a decision on his availability will be made in consultation with the team's medical staff after the next two days of training."



Team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said Clarke was making good progress and was expected to train on Tuesday and Wednesday.



There was more bad news for Australia, however, when Tim Paine, the back-up to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, was discovered to have broken a finger in a Twenty20 match in Brisbane on Sunday.



Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones