Despite Michael Clarke previously revealing that his current injury could jeopardise his international career the Australian captain is ahead of schedule in his recovery, which will provide a huge boost for Australia in their preparations for the World Cup, reports abc.net.
Clarke has already been named in Australia’s 15-man squad announced earlier this month but this latest news will further boost hopes of his return.
Initially the 33-year-old underwent surgery on December 16th to stitch the hamstring tendon at the top of his right leg and advise from the medical experts was that recovery was expected to take ten weeks, resulting in him missing most of the World Cup.
However, Clarke is hoping to defy medics and return to cricket in the next week or so in order to prove to selectors that he is fit enough to play, and not break down again, in what will be an intense tournament.
Clarke could turn out for his local grade club, Western Suburbs, as early as this weekend and is on course to play in Australia’s warm-up clash against the UAE in Melbourne on February 11th, three days before the World Cup opener against England.
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Australia’s selectors have insisted that if Clarke has not proven his fitness for Australia’s second match of the tournament, on the 21st February against Bangladesh, then he will be ruled out of the tournament along with any other player who is struggling to be fit, and they are not budging on this strict deadline.
You can understand why the selectors have made the stance they have as they need to be assured that their squad is fully fit and able to challenge for the World Cup trophy. They will also want the squad fully focussed on the task ahead rather than having any issues hanging over them.
However, Clarke now looks set to meet his target, pending any further setbacks.
In Clarke's absence Australia have performed well in both the Test and ODI arenas. Led by Steve Smith the Aussies have defeated India comfortably in the Test series and are currently preparing well for the World Cup reaching the final of the tri-series tournament between themselves, England and India under the guidance of George Bailey.
However well the stand-in captains have performed, Clarke's return to the side will be a huge boost for the Australians as they plan their assault on the World Cup on home soil. Clarke’s fitness though will need managing carefully throughout the next few weeks but I have no doubt that he could be the man who is lifting the coveted World Cup trophy when the tournament comes to a close in Melbourne at the end of March.