Michael Clarke confident of being fit for Ashes

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Australian Test captain Michael Clarke today said it was unlikely his back and hamstring issues would keep him out of the Ashes tour to England later this year.

Clarke returned home early from Australia’s series in India after being ruled out of the fourth and final Test in Delhi. It was the first time in his 92-match Test career stretching more than eight years that injury had forced him out of the Australian team.

Clarke, 31, has had a long standing problem with back-related issues. “It was taken out of my hands once I was unavailable for selection,” he told reporters at Sydney airport on his arrival home.

“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.”

Clarke said he was positive about his chances of recovering well in time for Australia’s five-Test Ashes tour to England, which begins in late June.

“I’ll need to have the X-rays and listen to the experts and then make a plan,” he said.

“But from my point of view, I’m always pretty positive, so I think it’s very unlikely I’ll miss the Champions Trophy (in England in early June) and the Ashes.”

Clarke is a vital part of Australia’s chances in the Ashes, having scored 7,275 runs at 52.33 with 23 centuries in Tests. The Australian skipper said he had not given any thought as to whether he would be able to fulfil his Indian Premier League commitments with Pune Warriors in early April before heading to England.

Two editions of the Ashes series are being played back-to-back this year to avoid a clash with the 2015 World Cup.

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