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Clarke hopes to play in first Aust-Ind test

December 5, 2014

ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) — Australia captain Michael Clarke remains hopeful of playing in the first test against India next week and will test out his injured hamstring in training on Saturday.

Clarke ran at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday and was to join the team in Adelaide later in the day. Clarke is recovering from his third hamstring injury since August and from the death of close friend and teammate Phillip Hughes, who suffered fatal injuries from being hit by ball while batting in a domestic match last week.

Coach Darren Lehmann says “as long as he’s (Clarke’s) fine to do the running and can bat (he’ll play) ...we’ll be guided by medical staff, the captain himself, selectors.”

“He’s pretty mentally strong, as you saw throughout the week,” Lehmann added, referring to Clarke’s leading role following the death of Hughes and at the batsman’s funeral on Wednesday. “He held himself together really well and led the team really well.”

The first test begins Tuesday at the Adelaide Oval, and India will play without its regular captain M.S. Dhoni, who is recovering from a right thumb injury. Virat Kohli will lead the visitors.

The 19-man squad includes two other wicketkeepers, Wriddhiman Saha and Naman Ojha, but it is expected that Ojha will return to India once Dhoni has recovered, likely ahead of the second test in Brisbane beginning Dec. 17.

The selection committee, which met in Mumbai, named rookie batsman Lokesh Rahul as the third opener, after Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan, and included leg spinner Karn Sharma for the first time.

The 22-year-old Rahul, who toured Australia earlier this year with the India A side, was picked ahead of more experienced openers like Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag because of his strong recent form.

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