Millennium Post

Clarke’s fate still hangs in balance

Australia captain Michael Clarke is likely to miss the fourth Test starting Friday because of a degenerative back. The uncertainty has opened the way for vice-captain Shane Watson to lead the squad. Though the team management will not take a call on Clarke until the morning of the match, the skipper admitted he remains a doubtful starter. ‘I still have 24 hours, just need to make sure my treatment goes off well. I’ll take the call in the morning,’ said Clarke on Thursday.

Clarke suffered back spasm during a fielding drill in the Mohali Test. He had supported Watson’s candidature for captaincy in case he fails to recover in time. Asked to comment on Watson, who has reunited with the team after being dropped for the third Test for failing to submit a presentation on team performance, Clarke said, ‘Shane is an important part of our team, there’s no doubt about it. He hasn’t performed that well in the first two Tests. But if Shane can come up with his best cricket in the fourth Test, it’ll be a huge improvement in our game.

After going down tamely in the first three Tests, Australia are eying to win the fourth Test in order to salvage some pride. ‘We will look to sign off with a win. We need to play to our potential and if we play our best cricket, I have no doubt that we can win this Test. We know the conditions well and we know the areas where we need to improve,’ said Clarke.

Clarke further said his team must use the experience gained in the tour so far. ‘Every single player has learned from this tour. The boys are trying their best to get positive results and are putting in a lot of hard work. We need to play some good cricket now,’ Clarke said.  

On Mitchell Johnson’s selection in first XI, Clarke said it all depends on the conditions. ‘Mitchell is bowling well and will want to play, but we ought to select the best eleven and that will be decided before the match begins’ he said.
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