A cloud of doubt is hanging over Michael Clarke's inclusion in the Australian Test squad for the Ashes opener at the Gabba on Thursday, Nov 25. He failed to bat during the side's initial practice session on Monday and will aim to prove his fitness from a recurring back problem on Tuesday.
Alex Kountouris, the Australia physio-therapist, said it was intended that Clarke wouldn't have a heavy load after being hit with the injury ten days ago. "Until he bats tomorrow we can't be absolute 100% sure that he's right to go," Kountouris said.
Clarke's participation was limited to walking some laps of the oval at the beginning of the session. He spent much of the time in a dressing room taking treatment for his injury.
The back disc injury, which has hindered Clarke's batting regularly throughout his career, resurfaced during his century for New South Wales a few weeks ago. He batted again in the second innings, scoring an unbeaten 39 to save the game, but hasn't been able to do anything at full tilt since. Steven Smith, the legspinning allrounder, is the spare batsman in the squad and will be an option for the third Test unless Clarke makes an immediate recovery.