Hamstrung Clarke out final ODI
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - Australia's captain Michael Clarke will miss the final ODI against the West Indies in Melbourne after complaining of a recurrence of the hamstring trouble that he has carried through the summer since suffering a muscle strain in the Hobart Test last year.
Shane Watson, only two matches into his own return from a calf problem, will lead the team at the MCG, with Shaun Marsh called into the ODI squad as cover. Instead of travelling to Melbourne, Clarke will remain in Sydney for recovery work until leaving for India on February 12.
"Michael Clarke has had his right hamstring assessed by team medical staff following the game and the team physiotherapist has confirmed that Michael has stiffness in the right hamstring," a CA spokesman said. "While there is no cause for alarm, Michael will not now travel to Melbourne for the fifth ODI on Sunday, as a precaution.
"He will leave for Chennai on the tour of India on 12 February, as planned. Shane Watson will captain Australia in the fifth ODI vs the West Indies at the MCG on Sunday. Shaun Marsh has been added to the ODI squad and will travel to Melbourne tomorrow ahead of Game 5 at the MCG."
Clarke showed signs of discomfort during his innings of 37 against West Indies in the fourth ODI at the SCG, which the hosts won to open up a 4-0 lead in the series.
The problem is an unwelcome one for Australia on the eve of their tour of India, with the team's other leading batsman David Warner himself recovering from a fractured thumb that forced him out of the West Indies series.
Clarke picked up the hamstring injury while batting in the first Test against Sri Lanka at Bellerive Oval in December, then nursed it through the remaining two matches of the series, making a century in Melbourne, before resting from the first two ODIs against Sri Lanka.
He is not yet considered in any doubt for the start of the India tour, but his value to the team and the recurring nature of the hamstring problem will be the cause for some alarm among the national team's medical team.
Australia face an unforgiving schedule for the rest of 2013, including four Tests in India, the Champions Trophy and Ashes series in England, another visit to India for a series of limited-overs matches, then another five Ashes Tests at home.
Earlier this week Clarke was picked up by Pune Warriors in the IPL auction for his nominated reserve price of $400,000.