Michael Clarke in doubt for India series
Sydney: Australia's preparations for next month's home Test series against India have been thrown into jeopardy after it was revealed today that inspirational skipper Michael Clarke might be forced out owing to a hamstring injury.
The 33-year-old, who picked up the injury during the ongoing ODIs against South Africa, might have to undergo surgery, according to media reports here.
"We are putting the World Cup and Ashes right up there and if he's right for the Indian Test series so be it," team performance chief Pat Howard told Fairfax Media.
"But we've seen him rushed back and what we'd hate is for him to play a Test or two and then break down. Everything is on the table at this point. We saw (paceman) Nathan Coulter-Nile go through hamstring surgery and come back in eight weeks, so obviously that is one possibility," he explained when asked about Clarke's availability for the series against India.
Clarke, a veteran of 107 Tests, is currently nursing his third hamstring injury in less than four months even as he continues to battle a recurring back problem. Howard said the focus is on helping Clarke prolong his career.
"I have talked about the priorities and what they are. Sometimes you have got to take a little bit of a long-term and a medium-term picture," Howard said.
"If we do this well, we can get extra years out of Michael who is a world-class player, rather than thinking in days and tournaments. We have an opportunity to really get the best out of the last couple of years of his career.
"Getting to the World Cup is important and how we get through this progress and rehab program will be important first. Anything past that we will assess how his body has come through that period and it will be a consultative process," he added.
Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin could be named Australia's captain if Clarke fails to recover for the series which starts December 4 in Brisbane.