Michael Clarke: I don't know if I will be fit to face England

Clarke is ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation from hamstring surgery

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The Independent Online

Captain Michael Clarke is unsure if he will be ready for Australia’s World Cup opener against England next week.

Clarke is ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation from hamstring surgery which threatened to rule him out of the tournament. He “pulled up well” after playing for a Cricket Australia XI against Bangladesh in Brisbane on Thursday, raising hopes he might return for next Saturday’s match at the MCG.

“I think you should ask that question to the medical staff,” Clarke said. “I don’t know the answer. I’ve been following their guidelines since day one and I’m extremely grateful and thankful that I sit in this position now because of their advice and guidance, so I will 100 per cent be dictated by what they feel and believe.”

Clarke has been told to prove his fitness by Australia’s second World Cup match, against Bangladesh on 21 February, and he admits there is still work to do to reach that deadline. He feels his movement in the field will determine his fitness.

Clarke injured his hamstring in the first Test against India in early December when he bent down to pick up a ball in the outfield. “I think that’s probably the area that I need to be 100 per cent satisfied that my body can cope with going 100 miles an hour,” he said. “That’s the way I’ve always played my cricket and how I want to continue to play.”

Ireland began their World Cup preparations with a five-wicket defeat to Sydney club Randwick Petersham yesterday. Captain William Porterfield’s 74 helped lead an Ireland XI to 255 for 7 only to see their hosts run down the target with 37 balls to spare.

The Irish squad only arrived in Australia earlier this week, but Porterfield said: “You can use that as an excuse but I’m not having it, to be honest. We’ve had three days of good training and we should have been a lot better.”