Harare: Australia’s dismal day got worse when captain Michael Clarke revealed on Sunday that he would take no further part in the triangular series against Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Clarke will head back to Australia after a recurrence of a hamstring injury that ruled him out of the first two games and which will raise questions over his selection for the third.
There seemed no need to risk the 33-year-old against Zimbabwe if there was a chance of the injury re-occurring as Australia had scored 677 runs in 100 overs in their two games before Sunday's defeat.
As it turned out he was the mainstay of his side's batting effort in the shock three-wicket loss to Zimbabwe, scoring an unbeaten 68 in a paltry total 209 for nine.
That score may have been boosted had he not retired hurt in the 43rd over, no longer able to bear the pain. He returned with two balls left in the innings at the fall of the ninth wicket to ensure his side could complete their overs.
“The hamstring is not great, I've done it again,” Clarke said at the post-match presentation. “I will be on a place back to Australia in the next 24 hours to try and get it sorted out.”
He will now work towards being fit for the one-day international series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates starting on Oct. 7.
“It was more the fact that if things weren't going the way I wanted them to, I wanted to make sure I was accountable for that.
“I didn’t think it was fair to leave that to George. It was up to me to help the team win and if we didn't get the result we wanted then I'm 100 per cent accountable for that. No idea (about tear) or if I did more damage by going back out.”
Australia's next match in the triangular series is on Tuesday against South Africa when George Bailey is expected to lead the side.
Last year, Clarke missed the Champions Trophy in England when his chronic back injury caused him problems upon arrival in the country. Australia's next tour is against Pakistan in the UAE and it kicks off with a T20, which Clarke will not play, allowing him extra time to adjust.
The next year could be gruelling for Clarke with a number of overseas tours stacked up.