Australia captain Michael Clarke has been ruled out of Australia's ICC Champions Trophy opener with England due to a back injury.

Clarke missed Australia's last two warm-up matches because of the injury but there was hope that he would be fit for the clash at Edgbaston.

Despite the injury, Australia coach Mickey Arthur told BBC Sport that he remains confident the batsman will be fit for this year's Ashes which start in July.

Arthur told reporters: "I am concerned but confident we will have him firing somewhere in this tournament for us and then into the Ashes."

The match against England is an exciting opener for what should be a thrilling year of cricket between the two nations.

After the series in England this summer, there is another Ashes series in the winter as the Three Lions travel Down Under for five more Test matches.

There are also five Twenty20 matches as well as ten other One Day International games to be played, not including the Champions Trophy, between now and February next year.

Elsewhere in the tournament, South African bowler Morne Morkel will miss the rest of the Trophy after suffering a quad strain in his side's defeat to India.

There were already worries for the current number one ranked side as their other primary fast bowler, Dale Steyn, is also suffering from injury.


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