MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Injured Australia captain Michael Clarke will arrive in the United Arab Emirates five days ahead of the rest of the test squad as he races to be fit for the two-match series against Pakistan.
The 33-year-old blamed training directly after a long-haul flight for an injury to his left hamstring in Zimbabwe last month.
Clarke, who subsequently aggravated the injury in a one-day match against the African team, has already been ruled out of the ODI component of the Middle Eastern tour and remains a doubt to be fit for the first test in Dubai on Oct. 22.
Clarke said he would fly to the Emirates on Sept 30 to continue his rehabilitation and was working with team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris to change his fitness regime in a bid to prevent further breakdowns.
“There’s probably six or seven things we’ve discussed and it will take some time to work out if they work, don’t work or if they’re a waste of time,” Clarke said on Cricket Australia’s website (cricket.com.au).
“It’s going to take some time to work out what’s perfect for me but we believe getting there (the UAE) a couple of days before everybody else and allowing my body to acclimatise and recover after a long plane flight is a good start.
“So I’m flying over on the 30th to give myself every opportunity to be fit and if I thought I wasn’t going to be fit (for the first test) I wouldn’t even get on that plane.
“In overall terms, I feel as fit and as healthy as I’ve ever felt and I’m only 33 so I feel I’ve got a lot of cricket left in my body.”
Clarke declined to declare himself a certain starter for the first test but dismissed suggestions from pundits that he should consider giving up one-day cricket to prolong his career.
“I know there’s been some talk about whether I should walk away from one-day cricket or how long I can play for, but I’ve had my back issues since I was 17 and I’ve managed to miss only one test match out of 105 through my career,” he added.
“I’ve also missed a few one-dayers but touch wood, to date I haven’t missed any major tournaments.
“It’s all part of playing sport at the highest level.
“You’re going to get injured and it’s about making sure you do the work to get back on the park, and while I’ve still got that drive to do that work and the love of the game I’ve got, I see no reason to consider walking away.
“You get a little kick in the guts, but you’ve got to get up and go again.
“It’s not going to be the last injury I have.”