Brendon McCullum says the return of Michael Clarke can only boost Australia’s chances at the World Cup.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum says Michael Clarke’s return can only strengthen Australia in Saturday’s World Cup clash at Eden Park.
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The pressure will be on Clarke to perform in his first competitive match for Australia since suffering a hamstring injury in December.
Clarke was supposed to face Bangladesh last Saturday, but the match was washed out, meaning he will face a baptism of fire against the Kiwi’s.
McCullum expects Clarke to play a major role on Saturday, saying his side were “in awe” of his leadership during the Phillip Hughes tragedy.
“I think we saw during the tragic circumstances around Phil Hughes’ passing how strong a leader he is and the way that he carried himself and the way that he spoke on behalf of the team,” McCullum is quoted as saying by Reuters.
“I think that earned adulation and respect from not just Australian people, but also people around the world.
“We were certainly in awe of how he was able to handle himself during that time. I think he’s very much the leader of that team. We are very respectful of that and I think they are strengthened for his inclusion back in the side.”
Both sides are undefeated going into the game, however Australia have only played the one game.
Saturday’s clash begins at 1am (GMT).