India tour: Michael Clarke in pain, agony for Australia as skipper ruled out

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miMelbourne:  Australia were on Tuesday dealt a massive blow ahead of their upcoming tour of Indiaas skipper Michael Clarke was ruled out of the limited-overs series due to a back injury. He has been replaced by middle-order batsman Callum Ferguson in the squad.

“The Cricket Australia National Selection Panel today (Tuesday) advises that South Australia’s Callum Ferguson will replace the injured Michael Clarke on Australia’s VB Tour of India,” Cricket Australia said in a statement.

Clarke’s availability was in doubt for the series which starts with a T20 on October 10 followed by a seven ODIs. He has suffered from chronic back problems throughout his career and Australia will hope that he recovers in time for the home Ashes series which begins in November.

George Bailey will captain the ODI team in Clarke’s absence with Brad Haddin as his vice-captain.

“Michael was very keen to captain the ODI team to India but unfortunately he hasn’t progressed enough to be available for selection,” National Selector John Inverarity said.

“His replacement is Callum Ferguson, whose form in 50-over cricket during the last Australian summer was impressive, scoring 271 runs at an average of 45 and a strike rate of 70 in the RYOBI CUP, along with an additional three matches for Australia A against the England Lions in February scoring 149 runs in three innings at 49.66 with a strike rate of 91,” he added.

“In addition, The NSP has added Nic Maddinson to the squad for the T20 fixture. Nic showed some sparkling form on Australia A tours during the winter. He will be in strong contention to open the batting with Aaron Finch in this game,” Inverarity said.

Commenting on Clarke’s injury, Australian Team Physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said Clarke has a longstanding low back injury that requires “ongoing management”.

“During the recent England ODI series his injury flared up again and has been slow to heal with his regular treatment regime.

“Michael will therefore not be available to play the upcoming India ODI series and will require a more extensive rehabilitation period before returning to competitive cricket,” Kountouris added.

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