Clarke's IPL participation to be decided by medicos
Australian captain Michael Clarke hoped that his chronic back pain would not keep him out of the Ashes but his participation in next month's Indian Premier League (IPL) will be decided on the basis of advice from medical experts.
Clarke returned here Sunday morning after back pain ruled him out of the fourth Test. It was the first time in his 92-Test career spanning over eight years that an injury forced him out of a game.
"It (participation in the Delhi Test) was taken out of my hands once I was unavailable for selection," Clarke was quoted as saying by Australian media after his arrival here at the Sydney Airport.
"The medical staff from Cricket Australia wanted to get me home ASAP to have scans and try and get me as fit again as soon as possible as well. So it was a bit of 'do as you're told', when it came to flying out," said Clarke
Clarke is set to lead Pune Warriors in the six-week IPL that starts April 3, before heading to England for the Champions Trophy in June and Ashes series.
"I think I'll need to wait on the results, listen to the experts and then make a plan from there. But from my point of view, I'm always pretty positive, so I think it's very unlikely I'll miss the Champions Trophy and the Ashes," he said.
Clarke said that Shane Watson was doing a good job in the Delhi Test.
"He's a wonderful leader there's no doubt about that. He's done it in one-day cricket now for a while and I know he's really enjoying this opportunity," he said.
Clarke said team morale was high after the 'homework affair' that saw Watson, Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Johnson and James Pattinson being suspended for the third Test over a breach of discipline.
"It certainly gave all of us a kick up the backside. It made us realise how important what we thought were the little things, are. I think the team has responded very well.
"The players that were left out have come back really well and it's good to see some of those guys have had opportunities in this Test and are grabbing it with both hands," he said.