Clarke banks on 'no-brainer' Test squad

Australia

Captain Michael Clarke has insisted the composition of Australia's squad for the first Ashes Test is all but a foregone conclusion.

Captain Michael Clarke has insisted the composition of Australia's squad for the first Ashes Test is all but a foregone conclusion.

While batsmen Usman Khawaja and Phil Hughes are unlikely to be selected, after exclusion an Invitational XI to play the tourists in Sydney, the in-form George Bailey and uncapped Callum Ferguson will probably feature.

Clarke and fast bowlers Peter Siddle and Ryan Harris, meanwhile, will not play first-class cricket this week – in a bid to maintain fitness for the five-Test series opener, which will get underway in Brisbane on 21 November.

"We are in a good place. I honestly think that if they pick 12 players, then 11 of them are no-brainers for Test number one at the Gabba," said Clarke.

"I would imagine the majority pick themselves from the form they have displayed in all forms of the game.

"The exciting thing about where we are at right now, whether it be batters or bowlers, individual players have stepped up and performed."

The tourists are waiting on the fitness of batsman Kevin Pietersen, who is nursing a knee injury. Wicketkeeper-batsman Matt Prior has been ruled out of the three-day in Sydney due to a calf strain.

"To be honest I'm not concerned about England's team. I'm really excited about where we sit as a team. I haven't looked at England at all. I haven't watched a ball they have bowled on this tour so far," concluded Clarke.

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