Clarke won’t feature in World Cup opener

2015 World Cup

Australia will not be able to call on skipper Michael Clarke for their opening World Cup fixture against England on Saturday, as the selectors have decided to give him till his fitness deadline to prove his readiness.

Clarke did play in a warm-up match against the UAE this week, and scored a half century while opening the batting, but coach Darren Lehmann feels the 21 February game against Bangladesh is still the best time for Pup to return.

Lehmann said of Clarke: "Happy with the way he pulled up and really happy with his progress. But we're going to stick with the plan and he'll play against Bangladesh.

"Really happy with the way it's gone, the way he batted, ran, fielded, bowled, he ticked all the boxes. A good solid week [ahead] and get prepared for Bangladesh.

"He's very keen to play but we've got to make sure that when he gets back he'll be ready to go, and he will be on Saturday [next] week. We just had a chat. He's respectful of what we're trying to do, get him right.

"He's a quality player and a quality leader. Whilst we would have loved to have him available for this game, we're making sure he's 100% and ready to go for Bangladesh."

Another injury concern is all-rounder James Faulkner, who pulled up with a side strain during the tri-series final against England at the start of the month. But Lehmann is confident Faulkner will be good to go in the latter half of the tournament.

The coach said: "He's batting comfortably now, so that's a good sign for us. We're just dictated by the medical team at the moment with that. Hopefully he'll resume bowling very shortly. We'll wait and see on that one."

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