Clarke Will Not Feature For Australia

Michael Clarke will not feature for the Kangaroos in the opening match of the triangular series that is going to start in the Zimbabwean Capital Harare tomorrow. The vice captain of the side, George Bailey, will take charge in his absence.

Clarke, who has spent almost his entire career with niggles, pulled his hamstring the other day while warming up.

There were hopes in the Aussie camp that he would be okay come Monday, but, he could not pass the fitness test in the evening today after which it got confirmed that he would be sitting out of the match against Zimbabwe.

Talking to the reporters, Darren Lehmann, the coach of the Australian side said, “Michael will be missing out which is obviously unfortunate for us. We were hoping that he would be fit by the weekend, but, that has not been the case. He failed the fitness test conducted by the medical staff.”

“We have another match in a couple of days’ time and we will see if he can make it to that. He will be under the assessment of the physio and the other medical guys.”

The first match should not be that tough for Australia even without the services of Clarke because Zimbabwe is no longer the upset creating team that it once used to be. So, even a weaker Aussie XI should get better of them.

With David Warner and Shane Watson not there, the wicketkeeper batsman Brad Haddin might open for Australia along with Aaron Finch with Maxwell coming in at 3 and Bailey at 4.

For Zimbabwe, Brendan Taylor should be called back after being dropped in the series against South Africa. He has to play to give the middle order of the hosts a bit of solidity.

Clarke Considered Best Test Captain In The World

Michael Clarke is considered as the best test captain in the world at the moment, but, some real big challenges lie ahead of him in the upcoming season.

Clarke had significant amount of success in the last season. He won the Ashes five-zero and then, he went to South Africa and defeated them in their own backyard. So, he deserves plaudits, but, one thing that must be taken into account is that the conditions in which the Kangaroos played for most parts of the last season were not alien for them. They knew their own pitches pretty well and they found themselves at home on bouncy South African pitches.

But, when Australia travels to United Arab Emirates for a test series in the latter parts of this year, they will be tested. They will surely be given a couple of dustbowls where the ball would not only come significantly slower, but, would turn a long way too and in those conditions; the world will get to see how good a captain Clarke is.

One thing that Clarke has shown so far is that he is not shy of taking gambles. He is a man who thinks positive, but, can he remain the same in tough circumstances as well and make his team do well? That’s the question.

Clarke has toured overseas as captain in the past as well and has suffered numerous defeats, but, those defeats were explainable because the Australian team was going through a transitional period. But, the team that Australia has got at this point of time is quite potent in all departments and thus, they should win against Pakistan. If they fail, that would be a setback for Clarke.

The last test series that Australia had played in the subcontinent was about a year ago against India. They had been whitewashed in that series.

Pietersen Surprised of Stokes Exclusion

Kevin Pietersen is quite surprised that Ben Stokes who had proved to be a revelation for England on the Ashes tour of Australia last year has not been selected in the England squad for the first test match against Sri Lanka.

Stokes was the only player whose performance had been consistent for England in the last Ashes series. He was fantastic both with bat and ball in the 4 test matches that he played. Everyone was expecting him to be picked for the all rounder’s slot for the Lord’s test match, but, the selectors had something else in their mind as they decided to prefer Chris Woakes.

The reason that they gave to the media for making that call was Stokes’ lack of match practice. They reckon that he hasn’t bowled sufficient amount of overs to be ready for test cricket.

Pietersen doesn’t agree to this decision of the selectors. He believes that a couple of championship matches are enough for any player to get into the groove and especially for a player like Stokes who tends to lift his game on big occasions.

In his article for one of the leading English dailies, Pietersen wrote, “There are a few players who can’t perform well without having enough practice, but, it doesn’t apply to all the players. There are certain guys who can turn the heat on straightaway as they are more confident than the others and Ben does appear to me as one such bloke.”

Stokes’ batting average in test cricket is almost 35, while, he averages 32 with the ball. He has already had a hundred and a five-for under his belt in 5-day cricket.

As per Pietersen, the Durham man can become a superstar for England in the future.