New Delhi: The Border-Gavaskar Trophy already lost, all that Michael Clarke is looking forward is to salvage some pride in the fourth Test beginning Friday.
But unfortunately, the Australia captain is still not sure whether he would be able to recover from his back problem to lead the team out, at the Kotla.
Clarke had been suffering from back problems since the age of 17 and so chronic it has become that many feel the injury might cut short his cricketing career. Clarke, however, dismissed any such suggestion saying the injury would have no impact on his career.
“I’ve had back issues throughout my whole career, since I was 17. It’s the same problem. I have a bulging disc now. So, it’s regular maintenance and rehab to make sure that I do stay as fit and healthy as I can. And I’ve done so throughout my career,” said Clarke.
“It was really sore during the last game. It has improved over the past couple of days but it’s still not 100 per cent. It’s still quite sore and that’s why I’m going to need as much time as possible to try to be fit for Friday game,” he said.
There were speculations that relation between Clarke and his deputy, Shane Watson has soured since the Mohali Test when Watson and three others were dropped on disciplinary grounds. Clarke, however, on Thursday said Watson’s return would be a big help for the team.
“Shane is an important part of our team, there’s no doubt about it,” Clarke said. “He hasn’t performed that well in the first Two Tests. But if Shane can come up with his best cricket in the fourth Test, it’ll be a huge improvement,” he said.
Despite the physical discomfort and the embarrassment of losing three Tests, Clarke sounded eager to round off the tour with at least one win in the final Test.
“I don’t enjoy losing. But I think we’re trying everything we can as a team. We’re learning, we’ve improved throughout the series. I think we showed a lot more fight in the third Test, and I’m confident that we can go home with a win,” said the Australian.
“Every single player has learnt from this tour. It’s been a learning curve for all our players who haven’t toured India before. It’s been a challenging tour.
“Guys are trying their best to get results. Efforts have been there but things are not turning up in our favour. We need to play some good cricket to get the result in our favour. It would be about scoring as many runs as we can,” insisted Clarke.
Asked whether Mitchell Johnson would find a place in the final eleven, Clarke said: “I haven’t seen the wicketů I need to have a look at the wicket first and speak to the other selectors. If we think that Mitchell Johnson is the part of the best eleven, then he’ll play.”
On whether both wicketkeepers — Brad Haddin and Matthew Wade — would get to play, Clarke said: “Generally, you play only one wicketkeeper in your team. But both bat well enough to play as a batsman as well.
“That’s something we certainly need to think about and consider. If Wade is fully fit, though, I’m pretty sure that he’ll be our No. 1 wicketkeeper for this Test match.”