Michael Clarke will not be risked for Australia’s opening match of the World Cup against England in Melbourne on Saturday.
The selectors decided not to include their captain for the game, despite Clarke’s solid performance in a warm-up match against the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday where he scored 64 runs.
Clarke will in all likelihood be back for his country’s second match against Bangladesh on 21 February, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
‘Happy with the way he pulled up and really happy with his progress,’ coach Darren Lehmann said after a practice session on Thursday.
‘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.’
VAUGHN PREDICTS BIG TOTALS
Former England captain Michael Vaughn has predicted that the coming World Cup will end the era where totals of 250-275 regularly won teams matches.
‘We will see massive scores. This will be the World Cup of 350-370 totals,’ Vaughn said writing for the Sydney Morning Herald.
‘The era of scoring 250-275 and winning on a regular basis will die (if it has not already) at this tournament. Having a fifth fielder in the ring makes players just go for it. The two new white balls were brought in to redress the balance and give the bowlers some firepower.
‘But they are not swinging and it has actually given batsmen a harder ball to hit so in the final 10 overs of an innings they are facing a ball that is only 20 overs old, which is why it is flying to the boundary.’
WORLD CUP WARM-UPS
The West Indies scraped through their World Cup warm-up match against Scotland with a mere four-run victory in Sydney on Thursday.
The Windies posted 313/9 in their 50 overs thanks to a well-played 88 from Denesh Ramdin. The Scots went from 300/6 to 309/9 in the space of nine balls and needed 14 runs from the last two overs for victory.
Richie Berrington’s (66) wicket was the catalyst for the collapse and in the end Scotland missed out on a victory that would have given them loads of confidence ahead of the World Cup, although the fact that they managed to get close to a target of over 300 won’t soon be forgotten.
In the other warm-up on Thursday, Ireland managed to beat Bangladesh by four wickets after chasing down 190 in 46.5 overs, thanks largely to an unbeaten 63 by Andy Balbirnie.