Nice To Have Whole Squad Available Again - Clarke

Nice To Have Whole Squad Available Again - Clarke
Nice To Have Whole Squad Available Again - Clarke
©REUTERS / Action Images

Australia captain Michael Clarke will be given every chance to prove his fitness for the fourth and final Test against India in Delhi, although it is looking increasingly likely that he will miss the match with a back injury.

He struggled through the end of the third Test in Mohali and if he is to miss the game, vice-captain Shane Watson, who missed the third Test, will take over.

However, speaking ahead of the match, Clarke had been in optimistic mood, knowing that a decision on his fitness would be made at the last possible moment.

"We've got a little bit of time left before we've got to make that decision, and that will be guided by our physio and team doctor as well," he said.

"My fingers are still crossed and hopeful, my back is still a little bit sore at this stage but I've got 24 hours before I have to worry about it. I'm fortunate that selectors at this stage will give me to the last minute as well, plenty of treatment today, get down to training and see how it is after that.

"I think it is see how I go in everything I do, my movement with treatment, trying to bat and field.  Hopefully we get to that stage and I can get through that, and obviously have to see how I pull up in the morning as well.  It's really dictated by how I progress throughout the day, then what the two experts think."

On to cricketing matters, and with Australia 3-0 down in the series and having already relinquished the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, their aim is to try to get something out of the final match, played on a Delhi pitch that is expected to play low, and favour turn as the game goes on.

"It's really hard (to judge) being three days out when we saw it," Clarke said when asked about the pitch. "I think it will change today, and maybe even tomorrow. 

"Wickets are so different over here that sometimes by not watering them, or leaving them a little bit dry it hardens the surface so they play better, especially at the start of the game. 

"It didn't look that great yesterday, it was quite dry and there were a few cracks already in the wicket, so let's wait and see what it looks like on the day before we look too much into that. 

"My expectation is it won't change much from the first three Test matches. It will be good to bat on in your first innings, tough to bat on in your second innings and spin will play a big part."

Australia went in to the Mohali Test with the bare bones of a playing squad available after four players were suspended for a breach of discipline and Matthew Wade missed out due to injury. Clarke is looking forward to having a bigger pool of players to pick from this time around.

"We've got training today so we'll wait and see how our boys get through today before we work out who is 100% to select our eleven, but it is nice to have the whole squad available for selection again. 

"The four guys that are looking for an oppotunity to get back into this Test series, so we'll wait and see what the best eleven is for these conditions and we'll go from there."

As Australia are certain to make changes, so too are India after Shikhar Dhawan, who scored a wonderful century on debut in Mohali, has a hand injury and Clarke is expecting Ajinkya Rahane to make his Test debut in Delhi.

"I think Rahane will definitely play, he's been around there squad for a while now," he guessed. "He's a very talented young player and has success in the shorter form, had a really good IPL last IPL.  I know India really like him as a top order batsmen so I'll be very surprised if he doesn't get an oppotunity."

© Cricket World 2013

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Fixtures & Results

10th October: T20I, Rajkot
IND 202-4 beat AUS 201-7 by 6 wickets
13th October: 1st ODI, Pune
AUS 304-8 beat IND 232 by 72 runs
16th October: 2nd ODI, Jaipur
IND 362-1 beat AUS 359-5 by 9 wickets
19th October: 3rd ODI, Mohali
AUS 304-6 beat IND 303-9 by 4 wickets
23rd October: 4th ODI, Ranchi
AUS 295-8 v IND 27-0 - match abandoned, rain
26th October: 5th ODI, Cuttack
Match abandoned - waterlogged pitch
30th October: 6th ODI, Nagpur
IND 351-4 beat AUS 350-5 by 6 wickets