Swann: It will be a shame if Clarke does not play

England

Spinner Graeme Swann is hopeful injury will not rob England's bowling attack of the opportunity to challenge Australian captain Michael Clarke in the first Ashes Test in Brisbane, which will get underway in Brisbane on 21 November.

Spinner Graeme Swann is hopeful injury will not rob England's bowling attack of the opportunity to challenge Australian captain Michael Clarke in the first Ashes Test in Brisbane, which will get underway in Brisbane on 21 November.

A recurring back problem has ruled Clarke out of October's limited-overs tour of India and will keep his participation in the series opener against the English in the balance until early next monht.

"It'd be a shame for the Ashes if Michael Clarke doesn't play. He's a world class player for the Australians and a good leader. If he's not playing it'll be a fillip for us but a big blow for the Aussies and the Ashes on the whole I think," Swann told <i>Sky Sports News</i>.

England won the coveted five-match series three-nil earlier this year in the United Kingdom, where host all-rounder Stuart Broad and visiting coach Darren Lehmann were consistently at loggerheads – after the former refused to walk during the Trent Bridge Test.

"It's a pretty hostile and hard atmosphere anyway and I'm not sure any of the nonsense that went on in the summer will have anything to do with it, it's water under the bridge," added Swann.

"Let's face it it's not an issue. I'm sure the Australian crowd will be as passionate and vociferous as ever, and we just have to go out there and play good cricket and shut them up."

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