Injured Clarke retained as captain for India first Test

Injured Clarke retained as captain for India first Test

Australian selectors Monday named the injured Michael Clarke Captain for the first Test against India, starting Dec 4, subject to proving his fitness after a hamstring injury.

Clarke is undergoing daily treatment for his troublesome back as well as his injured hamstring that forced him out of Australia's One-Day International (ODI) series against South Africa.

Pace bowler Ryan Harris was also included in the squad for the first time since March after a knee surgery.

Clarke will resume running over the coming days and will play for a Cricket Australia (CA) XI against the tourists in a two-day match beginning Nov 28 if he responds well to daily treatment.

A CA release said Australia won't be calling in a replacement for Clarke if he fails to recover sufficiently.

"We still have some time before having to make a final decision on Michael's fitness. As you would expect, he's desperate to play and we are doing all that we can to ensure he can do just that," Peter Brukner, Australian team doctor said in a statement.

"Over the coming days, the plan is to build him up so that he can resume running with the ultimate aim of getting him some high-intensity match practice ahead of the first Test."

Uncapped New South Wales (NSW) paceman Josh Hazlewood has been rewarded for strong recent performances in domestic cricket with inclusion in the Test squad for the first time since 2012-13. Hazlewood claimed nine wickets in the recent ODI Series against South Africa.

Mitchell Starc and Glenn Maxwell have been omitted from Australia's last Test side that faced Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.

"Michael Clarke has been included subject to fitness. We would have preferred him to play in the round of Sheffield Shield starting tomorrow but unfortunately his condition did not allow him enough time to be ready for that match," Rod Marsh, national selector, said.

"The aim is for him to play in the two-day CA XI match against India at the Adelaide Oval starting this Friday and his selection for the first Test is very much dependent on him pulling up well from that match. It goes without saying that Michael is a world-class batsman and it is important that he is 100 per-cent fit to be able to play in the first Test."

Marsh also said Hazlewood is a bright prospect and deserves this chance.
"Josh is a young player of great talent and he thoroughly deserves this opportunity. He has impressed in the recent one-day series and we are excited to see what he can produce if given the opportunity in Brisbane," Marsh said.

"Ryan has worked extremely hard to return to elite cricket following his knee surgery. We know what a quality player he is. He will play in this upcoming round of Sheffield Shield to get more bowling under his belt but we are all hopeful he will be ready for a big summer of cricket."

The 12-player squad for the first Test:

Michael Clarke (captain)
Brad Haddin (vice captain)
Ryan Harris
Josh Hazlewood
Mitchell Johnson
Nathan Lyon
Mitchell Marsh
Chris Rogers
Peter Siddle
Steve Smith
David Warner
Shane Watson

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