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Australia captain Michael Clarke is set to make his return from injury by playing grade cricket for Western Suburbs this weekend.
Cricket Australia is confident Clarke is on track to be fit for Australia’s second World Cup match against Bangladesh on February 21.
Clarke is set to play as a batsman only during the grade fixture, and is set to have limited fielding duties when featuring for the Cricket Australia XI against Bangladesh’s World Cup squad next Thursday.
The 33-year-old had surgery on his right hamstring after injuring it during the opening Test against India in Adelaide.
He was named as captain of Australia’s squad for the upcoming World Cup but was given a deadline of having to be fit to play by February 21.
“I am really happy to be playing for my Grade club this weekend and regard this as a positive step on my road to a return to full fitness,” Clarke said.
“It is exciting to be at this stage where I can consider walking onto a cricket field again and so, thanks to the guidance of the Cricket Australia medical staff and with the work I have put in, the signs are positive.
“But at the same time I know I have to respect the fact that I am on a daily programme and there is no point in us getting too far ahead of ourselves. I know I need to take things one step and one day at a time and so, for now, all I am doing is focusing on things day by day and with a belief in a positive outcome.”
Australia team physio Alex Kontouris said Clarke was making good progress.
“Michael is making good progress following his injury and the subsequent surgery six weeks ago, and the fixture in Sydney this weekend when he will play only as a batsman, and next week’s match in Brisbane, where he will play as a batsman with a limited fielding role, are all part of a gradual return to competitive action,” Kountouris said.
“We are determined to maintain a conservative approach to the management of Michael’s recovery but should he come through these matches without any adverse reaction, he remains on target to return as per our original schedule, for the second match of Australia’s ICC Cricket World Cup campaign, against Bangladesh in Brisbane on 21 February.”