Australia vs India, 1st Test: Michael Clarke's fitness worries continue, retires hurt after back injury
Australian captain Michael Clarke retired hurt on day one of the first Test between Australia and India due to what seemed to be a recurrence of his back injury, which has been hampering him for some time now. The 33-year-old was batting on 60 when in trying to handle a short-pitched ball from Ishant Sharma, he seemed to twist his back a bit.
Within moments, Clarke looked in real discomfort and was attended to by team doctor Peter Brukner and physiotherapist Alex Kountouris, both of whom rushed to the middle. After a brief check, he retired hurt and was replaced by Steve Smith in the middle.
Clarke’s availability for the start of the originally scheduled Test series was in real doubt due to a hamstring injury. However, he did get some more time to recover after the current series was postponed by a few days due to Phillip Hughes’ unfortunate demise. Clarke was a real pillar of support for Hughes’ family during the traumatic time.
Once the players returned to training, the focus shifted to whether the right-hander would be fit to play in the series. Coach Darren Lehmann had said prior to the Test that Clarke would play at Adelaide if he could run between the wickets and have a bat in the nets.
The fact that Clarke eventually took the field did seem to suggest that there was satisfaction surrounding his fitness, but it clearly looks as if he needs some more time to recover before he can regain 100% fitness.
He left the Adelaide Oval shortly after walking off the field for further assessment on his injury.
Michael Clarke's back is serious. He has left the ground for further treatment. He's carried one hell of a load this past fortnight.— Peter Lalor (@plalor) December 9, 2014
"Everyone was working together with the same thing in mind to try to get Michael recovered and fit and ready to play," Sutherland said, on ABC Radio shortly after Clarke retired hurt. "There may well have been some slightly different views about what was best in terms of preparation, but really that's all a moot point now.
"Things have moved on, we've seen the extraordinary and tragic circumstances of Phillip's death and we hope Michael's okay and he's back on the ground very soon. It's always a worrying sign when the Australian captain's carrying any sort of injury. We'll leave it in the capable hands of Alex Kountouris and he can weave a bit of magic overnight perhaps."