Clarke ready to prove fitness in Sharjah

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Australia captain Michael Clarke is set to play in the side's tour match in Sharjah this week, in order to prove his fitness to physio Alex Kountouris and get his name on the team sheet for the first Test.

Australia captain Michael Clarke is set to play in the side's tour match in Sharjah this week, in order to prove his fitness to physio Alex Kountouris and get his name on the team sheet for the first Test.

Clarke sat out of the ODI series with a hamstring injury, and is leaving it up to Kountouris to see if he plays the Test, but feels he is ready for a comeback. Clarke has only ever missed one Test due to injury, in 2013.

Clarke said: "I feel a lot better now than I did after Zimbabwe when I tore my hamstring. So I'll be playing in the four-day practice match. I'm just trying to take every single step along the way, and listen to the experts.

"As soon as I walk onto that ground, I'm a hundred miles an hour. That's an area that probably hasn't been great for me.

"Since coming back from Zimbabwe, Alex has had to hold me back in regards to trying to push myself too quickly to get back on the park. If I can prove to Alex that I can do everything that he asks [I'll be fit for the Test].

"I'll play the way I've played over the past 12 years. If the ball is there to chase to the boundary, I'll be sprinting after it. If I've got to run between the wickets as quick as I can, then that's what I'll be doing.

"That's why I think it's really important I take his [Kountouris] advice and guidance."

As for Mitchell Marsh, Clarke said that if the youngster played in the tour game, he would not bowl initially, but they hoped he'd be able to get some overs in and make an impression ahead of a potential Test debut.

Clarke added: "Mitch definitely won't bowl in the first innings. Hopefully he can bowl in the second innings. His progress is slow and steady, but he was bowling in the nets today so that's a real positive sign for us.

"The other side is I think his workloads are very good. He's played a lot of cricket for this time of year. He's played a lot of the Australia A stuff and got a lot of cricket under his belt.

"I think as long as he's fit to bowl, I don't think he necessarily needs to go and bowl 10 or 15 overs to prove that he's fit enough to do that.

"That'll be dictated by Alex and the doctor and we'll try and make the most of his batting in the first innings and then in the second innings, hopefully he'll have an opportunity to bowl."

Otherwise, the Aussies will be without opening batsman David Warner for the tour game, as he is nursing a groin injury picked up in the third ODI, and wants to be careful ahead of the Tests.

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