Michael Clarke is set to go back home to Australia to recover from a hamstring injury, and he will miss the remainder of the triangular series with Zimababwe and South Africa as a result, reports ESPNcricinfo.
The Australia captain’s return to international cricket was short-lived. After sustaining a hamstring niggle upon his arrival in Africa, the batsman was making his first appearance of the tournament when he aggravated the injury on Sunday.
Clarke batted through the pain to top-score for his side with 68, but that wasn’t enough to prevent Zimbabwe claiming their first ever ODI victory over the Aussies.
The long haul flight to play in the triangular series is believed to have contributed to the hamstring strain last week. After sitting out the first encounters with Zimbabwe and South Africa respectively, the captain recalled himself for the fourth match of the tournament.
Following the strain he sustained, Clarke speculated about travelling for future international series ahead of his teammates, allowing him the opportunity to prepare himself on his own for the best results.
Having admitted that he needs longer than others to be completely ready for a busy cricketing schedule, the sight of the 33-year-old traipsing around an airport with a suitcase on his own could become familiar in the future.
After missing a win over Zimbabwe and the loss to South Africa, Clarke returned to the side, looking to book progress to the final. But their opponents had different ideas, and won their very first 50-over game against Australia on the 30th attempt.
Batting at number three, the skipper’s only real support came from Brad Haddin (49) as the tourists were limited to 209-9 from their 50 overs. Zimbabwe – led by Elton Chigumbura’s unbeaten 52 – chased down that total with three wickets left and two overs still to spare.
Clarke evidently struggled throughout the match, even having to retire hurt in the 43rd over after coming to the crease with the scoreboard reading 11-1.
He then missed the first 19 overs of Zimbabwe’s reply, before returning to relinquish the captaincy duties from George Bailey.
The skipper will now be absent for his side’s next game against South Africa, which is still likely to be followed by a final between the two sides. However, Zimbabwe have kept their hopes of reaching the clincher alive with this victory.
With less than half a year remaining before the 2015 Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, Clarke will be hoping that he can return to full fitness before the competition begins next February.
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