Clarke retires hurt vs India with back injury
ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) — After two of the most emotional weeks of his life following the death of close friend and teammate Phillip Hughes, Michael Clarke thought his cricket was taking a turn for the better during the first test against India on Tuesday.
Recovered from recent hamstring problems that threatened his place in the Adelaide Oval test, Clarke was batting strongly and hitting the ball to all parts of the ground, and combined with opener David Warner for a century partnership.
Then Clarke’s injury curse returned. While trying to avoid a short ball about a half-hour before tea, Clarke injured his lower back and lay on the ground in pain with spasms.
He had scored 60 runs off 84 balls and hit nine fours.
A few minutes later, after receiving treatment from the team physiotherapist and doctor, he walked off the field and later left the ground with a team doctor for further treatment, retiring injured.
“He was in quite a bit of pain,” a Cricket Australia spokeswoman said.
Warner said Clarke had been given several injections and that his condition would be assessed Wednesday morning, with no decision made on whether he might return to bat. Australia was 354-6 at stumps on the first day.
Again, the 33-year-old captain’s his future in the match, series and even his career are in question.
Clarke was extremely close to Hughes, who he often called the brother he didn’t have. After Hughes’ death on Nov. 27 from injuries after being hit in the head by a bouncer, Clarke took charge of the team and some of the funeral arrangements and was a pallbearer at the funeral.
A test match at Brisbane scheduled for last week which Clarke would have missed due to his hamstring issues was postponed until next week due to Hughes’ death, giving Clarke a chance to be fit for the Adelaide match.
On Tuesday he appeared to be running well between the wickets with Warner until his back gave away again.
Clarke suffered a hamstring injury while playing in the one-day tri-series in Zimbabwe in August. He had been in doubt for the start of the India series after suffering his third hamstring injury since in the first one-dayer in Perth against South Africa.
He has resisted calls to give up limited-overs cricket after next year’s World Cup, saying he has no plans to retire from ODIs. But Clarke’s continuing injury issues might now force him to consider retiring from all forms of the game.