Clarke to lead Australia in World Cup
Melbourne, Jan 11: Michael Clarke, who is recovering from hamstring surgery, was Sunday named to skipper Australia in the World Cup starting Feb 14.
Australia will have the option of replacing the 33-year-old Clarke before or during the tournament if he is not able to return from injury in time.
"Captain Michael Clarke will lead our World Cup campaign should he recover from his injury. He is one of the world’s best batsmen and we want to give him every chance to prove his fitness for a tournament as important as this one," national selector Rod Marsh said in a release.
“Our medical staff are pleased with his progress following hamstring surgery in December and he continues to undergo thorough rehabilitation work with a view to being ready to play an important role in the World Cup."
Despite Steven Smith's installation as Test captain while Clarke was injured, George Bailey has been retained as vice-captain of the One-Day International (ODI) side and will lead the team in the upcoming tri-Series against England and India.
Clarke has already indicated he will not be ready for the team's opening game against England here Feb 14 but will be allowed to slot back in, probably against one of Australia's less formidable opponents, without having to prove his fitness in a practice game.
The inclusion of young seamer Josh Hazlewood ahead of veteran Ryan Harris has prompted some debate, as did the choice of left-armer Xavier Doherty as the squad's sole specialist spinner.
"This group has played a major role in getting Australia back to number one in ODI cricket and we feel we have the right mix of players to represent our country on the biggest stage of all," Marsh said.
Marsh also said all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, who sustained a hamstring injury during the second Test against India, is on track to be fit for the start of the World Cup.
Australian squad: Michael Clarke (Captain), George Bailey (vice-captain), David Warner, Aaron Finch, Shane Watson, Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, Brad Haddin, James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Xavier Doherty.