• Aus v NZ, Champions Trophy, Group A, Edgbaston

Australia's Clarke Ashes fears grow

ESPNcricinfo staff
June 11, 2013
Michael Clarke is yet to play since arriving in England © BCCI

Australia will again be without their captain Michael Clarke for Wednesday's Champions Trophy match against New Zealand as he continues to battle an ongoing back problem.

Although Clarke is reported to have made good progress over the past few days, he has not been training and has been ruled out of the New Zealand game, having also missed Saturday's loss to England.

"Michael is continuing to have intensive treatment in London, and whilst he is making good progress, he has not improved sufficiently enough to play the game against New Zealand on Wednesday," Alex Kountouris, the team physio, said. "We will continue to monitor his progress and determine his availability for next week's final group game against Sri Lanka."

Clarke has struggling with his back injury since the Australians arrived in England and did not take part in either of the Champions Trophy warm-up matches. The problem, which he has managed since he was a teenager, ruled him out of a Test for the first time on the tour of India in March, when he was forced to sit out of the final game in Delhi, and the Australians are wary of risking him ahead of the Ashes.

Australia's final group match at the Champions Trophy is against Sri Lanka at The Oval on Monday next week but there is a possibility that by then they will already have been effectively knocked out of the tournament. George Bailey, who captained Australia during the warm-ups and in the opening game against England, will again lead the side against New Zealand.

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