| A fan shares a light moment with (from right) Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist and Justin Langer in Georgetown on Thursday. The Aussies were taking a break from practice at Guyana’s popular Sea Wall. (AP/PTI)
Melbourne: Australia have dropped Damien Martyn from their squad for the four-Test tour of the West Indies because the batsman has failed to recover from a broken finger sustained at the recent World Cup.
Uncapped 22-year-old Michael Clarke from New South Wales was named on Friday as Martyn’s replacement and will travel to the West Indies during the weekend, the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) said on Friday.
Martyn, who has a Test average of 46.51 with five centuries, had received medical advice that his injury was growing worse rather than better, the ACB said in a statement.
The first Test starts in Guyana on April 10 and the 31-year-old was expected to join the squad in the next few weeks after receiving further treatment in Perth.
However, a hand specialist told the veteran of 33 Tests the fracture in his right index finger had shifted position, the ACB said.
“The fracture will need protection for up to four weeks, after which we are hopeful the healing process has taken hold and he is fit enough to be available for one-day international selection,” Australia team physiotherapist Errol Alcott said in the statement.
Martyn scored an unbeaten 88 from 84 balls in Australia’s World Cup final win over India in Johannesburg on March 23 despite having fractured his right index finger in a match against Kenya eight days earlier.
Martyn’s injury further weakens captain Steve Waugh’s Test squad. Australia are also missing their two leading bowlers in Test history, paceman Glenn McGrath (422 wickets) and leg-spinner Shane Warne (491).
McGrath, 33, left the touring party in London and returned to Sydney on Thursday night to comfort his wife Jane, who has a cancer infection in her hip.
Uncapped Western Australia fast bowler Brad Williams, 28, is on his way to Guyana as a temporary replacement for McGrath.
Warne, also 33, was handed a 12-month doping suspension in February after testing positive for diuretics.
Australia will play a four-Test series followed by seven one-day Internationals against the West Indies.
Clarke scored an unbeaten 39 against England in Adelaide three months ago in his one-day international debut.
“We regard Michael as a promising player for the future,” Australia chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said in the ACB statement.
Clarke was the fourth-highest scorer in the 2002-03 Australian four-day competition with 763 runs at 47.68.