'Injured' Clarke 'in doubt' for first 'return Ashes' Test

Melbourne, Oct 3 (ANI): Australian captain Michael Clarke has said that he reportedly may not be fit in time for the first Test of the return Ashes series at the Gabba in Australia, starting in late November following the latest flare-up of his longstanding back injury.

Clarke was ruled out of the limited-overs tour of India that starts next week, with Twenty20 captain George Bailey to lead Australia in India in Clarke's absence, starting with a T20 international at Rajkot next Thursday.

According to The Age, even with more than six weeks until the first Test starts on November 21, Clarke said that he is not optimistic about facing England for the opening match of the winter Ashes series as he was far from confident of being able to overcome the latest flare-up of the long-running and degenerative back problem.

Stating that there is no guarantee for him at this stage, Clarke further said that although he is trying hard to get himself fit for the Test, Australian team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris still has doubts that he would not be fit for the match, adding that he does not know when he can next return to playing competitive cricket.

Clarke however, said that he would do everything necessary to give himself a chance of playing in the Tests, including having treatment twice a day along with plenty of rehabilitation and recovery to get his strength back in the areas that support his back.

In a further blow, fast bowler James Pattinson also revealed he was no chance of returning from a back stress fracture in Brisbane, instead identifying the third Test in Perth as the earliest he could bowl again for Australia. (ANI)

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