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Back injury will not shorten my career: Clarke

New Delhi, March 21 (IANS): Australia captain Michael Clarke Thursday said his chronic back injury will in no way cut short his international cricket career.

“No, I don’t think so, it won’t have any impact,” he said. “It hasn’t had any impact in regards to my Test cricket at this stage. I don’t think it will play any role at all,” Clarke told reporters ahead of the fourth and final Test here.

File Photo of Austraila captain Michael Clarke. (Getty Images)

File Photo of Austraila captain Michael Clarke. (Getty Images)

Clarke suffered his latest bout of back pain in Mohali — during the third Test that Australia lost by six wickets — but played on after taking pain-killers.

“Right now I’ve been able to manage it for what am I now, 31? I had my first scan at 17 that said I had degeneration in my disc. I’ve been able to manage it this long, I don’t see any reason why I can’t continue to manage it for the rest of my career.”

Clarke received intensive treatment from team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris after Mohali. Clarke was off the field for a while during which wicketkeeper Brad Haddin took over the reins of captaincy.

However, the return of vice-captain Shane Watson after a one-match suspension handed to him by Cricket Australia for disciplinary reasons means that the all-rounder will captain the side if Clarke pulls out.

“It’s a combination of things,” Clarke said. “My back gets irritated when I’m in flexion and I rotate, so I hurt it the other day doing fielding, sprinting for a ball, picking it up one way and throwing it off balance, which is exactly the opposite to what my back likes.

“But I’ve done that a number of times throughout my career in regards to every time I field. Sometimes with degeneration of the disc, it can flare up, but I will manage it as well as I can. I’m very grateful for the people around, especially Alex Kountouris, and my physio when I’m back in Sydney, to keep me on the park consistently.”

The Border-Gavaskar series has already been surrendered, so the only thing that can be gained in Delhi is pride.

“I don’t know if it’s as bad as it’s been. It’s not a nice feeling,” he said. “It was very uncomfortable and it impacted my performance [in Mohali], in regards to not the number of runs I made but the movement.

“I felt I couldn’t move down the wicket because I was so restricted and I’d hate to see what the fielding side of it looked like. For me as a batsman, if I can’t walk out there and make a hundred because this is going to restrict me doing that, then I don’t think it’s fair on the team to take the field.

“It’s slowly improving. If you ask Alex or the team doctor they might have a different impression but, hopefully, a good day, plenty of treatment, and I wake up in the morning, feel magnificent and I walk out and play another Test match for Australia.”

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