Captain Michael Clarke will miss Australia’s opening match of the triangular series against Zimbabwe on Monday after failing to recover from a hamstring injury, Cricket Australia said on Sunday. While Clarke will sit out the match, spinner Nathan Lyon will return to the side for the first time in over two years.
“Michael had a fitness test at training today and unfortunately hasn’t come through that well enough to be available for selection in game one,” coach Darren Lehmann said in a statement released by Cricket Australia. “He will continue intensive treatment on his hamstring and we’ll monitor his progress ahead of game two on Wednesday.”
The side will now be lead by George Bailey and will include a return for Lyon, who has not played for the 50-over side since March 2012.
“Looking at the wicket today, we’ve opted to go with the spin option of Nathan Lyon along with the extra all-rounder to add further depth to our batting line-up which means that Phil Hughes has unfortunately missed out on selection,” Lehmann said.
MELBOURNE: Michael Clarke may opt to alter his travel plans for future after the hamstring injury ruled him out against Zimbabwe. Clarke, who has had a five-month layoff since leading Australia to a 2-1 test series triumph in South Africa, experienced pain in his left hamstring during the team’s first training session on Friday.
The 33-year-old, who has battled a chronic back problem throughout his career, suspected the lack of rest after a 15-hour flight from Sydney to Harare may have caused the injury.
“What I’ve learned through my career is that I probably need more time than most in regards to the gap between getting off a plane and training at full intensity,” Clarke told reporters in Harare.
“If it means I have to fly a couple of days earlier than the boys on the long trips, then that’s what I’ve got to do. It’s hard because I’m a big believer in travelling with the team, I’ve always liked that.”
Clarke will have more time to rest up before being required to play on Australia’s next trip, a Pakistan series in the UAE next month which opens with a Twenty20 match, a format he has given up at international level.
“Generally when I travel to the UK, there aren’t too many times that I haven’t got injured at the start of the series and I’m normally at my most vulnerable at the start of a series,” Clarke added.
“So I think I’ve got to be smarter with that, or at least try and work out how I can travel with the team but also do what’s best to make sure I can play the first game.”