Michael Clarke: We will bring the urn home

Michael Clarke has had back issues since he was a teenager, and was floored during the Old Trafford Test of his maiden Ashes tour in 2005 © IANS

Sydney: Jun 8, 2013

Former Australian captain Mark Taylor reckoned that Michael Clarke might need to take break from One-Day Internationals (ODI) in order to be fit for consecutive Ashes. Clarke was ruled out of the first game of the Champions Trophy and George Bailey will take charge instead.

Clarke is in doubt for the pre-Ashes tournament, and with just more than a month before the first Test at Trent Bridge no risks will be taken with Australia’s most important player.
 
”Michael is making steady progress in his recovery from the recent lower back injury but is yet to return to training,” Alex Kountouris, the team physiotherapist, said on Friday to Sydney Morning Herald.

”He will remain in London over the coming days to continue his rehabilitation and will not be available for the first match against England on Saturday. How he responds to the ongoing treatment will determine his availability for the match against New Zealand next Wednesday.”
 
”It is a really important time of the year for us, that goes without saying,” Kountouris had said earlier.
 
”This is an important tournament; too, so we’ll get him up for whatever games we can and won’t take any stupid risks.”
 
Taylor thinks Australia’s Ashes hopes would nose-dive without Clarke, but also understands his desire to lead the inexperienced side till the next World Cup which will be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
 
”It may get down to that [scaling back his ODI career]. He’s 32, he’s more or less given T20 away. The good news looking forward to our summer is that the Test matches are up front, so he can focus on getting through the Ashes and then have a look from there … I think he would like to still be part of the one-dayers but how many he can play is going to be an ongoing issue for him,” said Taylor.
 
Taylor, who struggled with sporadic back problems from the age of 21, now admits he returned too soon from surgery in 1996 because he [and the selectors] were desperate for him to lead a tour of India.
 
”I couldn’t really step off my left foot at all, I had trouble changing directions,” he said. ”These days that probably wouldn’t happen.”
 
Clarke has had back issues since he was a teenager, and was floored during the Old Trafford Test of his maiden Ashes tour in 2005. But he had not missed a Test until March this year, when he was forced home early from India.