Calcutta: With barely eight days to go before their tour of India, Australia were dealt a massive blow as skipper Michael Clarke was ruled out of the limited overs series due to a nagging back injury. Callum Ferguson comes into the squad as his replacement.
“The Cricket Australia national selection panel advises that South Australia’s Callum Ferguson will replace the injured Michael Clarke on Australia’s tour of India,” Cricket Australia (CA) said in a statement on Tuesday. “In addition, the national selection panel has clarified the Australian squad for the T20 against India, with Nic Maddinson added to the squad.”
The series gets underway with a T20 on October 10 in Rajkot, followed by seven one-dayers. George Bailey will captain the ODI team in Clarke’s absence with the experienced Brad Haddin as his deputy.
“Michael was very keen to captain the ODI team to India. But unfortunately, he hasn’t progressed enough to be available for selection,” national selector John Inverarity said.
“His replacement Callum’s form in 50-over cricket during the last Australian summer was impressive. He scored 271 runs at an average of 45 and a strike rate of 70 in the Ryobi Cup. In an additional three matches for Australia A against the England Lions in February, he garnered 149 runs in three innings at 49.66 with a strike rate of 91.
“Besides, Nic, who showed some sparkling form on Australia A tours during the winter, has been added to the squad for the T20 fixture. Nic will be in strong contention to open the batting with Aaron Finch in this game,” Inverarity added.
Talking about Clarke’s injury, Australian team physio Alex Kountouris opined that Clarke has a longstanding lower back injury that requires “ongoing management”.
“During the recent England ODI series, his injury flared up again and has been slow to improve with his regular treatment regime,” Kountouris added.
T20: George Bailey (captain), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Xavier Doherty, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Johnson, Nic Maddinson, Glenn Maxwell, Clint McKay, Adam Voges, Shane Watson.
ODI: George Bailey (captain), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Xavier Doherty, James Faulkner, Callum Ferguson, Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin, Moises Henriques, Phil Hughes, Mitchell Johnson, Glenn Maxwell, Clint McKay, Adam Voges, Shane Watson.