Clarke still pondering opening options

Australia

With Australia sitting without regular opener David Warner for the ODI tri-series in Zimbabwe, skipper Michael Clarke is considering his options before deciding on his line-up.

With Australia sitting without regular opener David Warner for the ODI tri-series in Zimbabwe, skipper Michael Clarke is considering his options before deciding on his line-up.

Warner is not going on the trip due to the imminent birth of his child, while Shane Watson was ruled out with an ankle injury. His replacement, Phil Hughes, has been racking up the runs and is a viable option.

Clarke said upon departure from Sydney: "I still think we've got options. Obviously we've got Hughes, he's in a purple patch at the moment, I don't think it's possible to have a better pre-season than what he's done.

"We've got Finchy who batted beautifully yesterday and has opened the batting for us. Hadds has opened the batting for us and Brad Haddin's numbers are very good as a one-day opener. He certainly gives us an option there.

"We will work out what we think is the best line-up for the conditions and the opposition we are playing and I think the wicket determines that more than anything else."

The series will see the Aussies face Zimbabwe and South Africa, and Clarke hopes the newer players use the tour as a chance to impress, with the selectors looking to get a line-up for the World Cup in mind.

He added: "I think they'll see it as an opportunity to be a part of our one-day team, to try and get their foot in the door and cement their spot – make it hard for the players that aren't on this tour to get back into the team.

"That's how I'd like them to see it. Unfortunately there are only 11 spots and we've probably got 20 players in my opinion who are ready to be a part of that XI. Now it comes down to consistent performance.

"Some guys aren't available for selection but it's exciting for people like Mitch Marsh, Smithy comes into our one-day team, Phil Hughes gets an opportunity, Kane Richardson, Ben Cutting.

"There are a number of guys who have been given a chance, which is exciting. It's a good chance for them to grab their opportunity.

"The reason you train so hard and perform so well in first class cricket, your goal is to represent Australia so when you get this chance you've got to make the most of it. It's going to be a tough series.

"The conditions in Zimbabwe will be tough, the wickets will be quite slow, there's generally a little bit of spin there as well so I think we're in for a tough series and I'm pretty sure these young guys will stand up."

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