Michael Clarke’s World Cup Comeback In Jeopardy

In or out? The Aussie World Cup team is facing a wait to see if and when Clarke will be replacing a fit body.

Robert Whiteby Robert White

Michael Clarke’s ICC World Cup comeback on home soil could be jeopardy as a tropical rainstorm threatens Australia’s second fixture at the Gabba on Saturday.

With thunderstorms an 80 percent chance to interrupt Saturday’s proceedings, Australian selectors are yet to make a call on whether Clarke will re-join the Australian side after battling serious back and hamstring issues in recent months, however a return earlier in the tournament is the preferred option rather than risking Australia’s blistering momentum and chemistry.

“Beautiful sunshine at the moment, but I think that’s it for the day – we got a couple of days of wet weather,” Australian coach Darren Lehmann said of the forecast on SEN radio.

“We’ll work out what the best 11 is once it clears up.

“It might be different with overcast conditions and we might decide to play a different way, and it depends on the wicket.”

Coming off a 111-run demolition of England in Australia’s World Cup opener, Lehmann shot down an accusation by former Test spinner Shane Warne earlier in the week that Michael Clarke is being set up to fail, describing the claim as “absolute rubbish”.  

Clarke passed a fitness test against Bangladesh a fortnight ago, but was left off the Australian team against England while George Bailey captained the side.

Bailey is considered the most logical cut in favour of the veteran skipper, however all-rounder Shane Watson could be in danger after producing golden duck in the tournament opener.

Both Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Johnson spoke in favour of a Clarke return this week, with Johnson declaring his captain “ready to go”.

“I love the captaincy that he (Clarke) brings,” Johnson said on Tuesday.

“He has got so much experience and George does as well.

“But Michael Clarke has been the captain for a number of years now. I know he has the boys’ full support.”

Australia will face tournament co-host New Zealand on Saturday, February 28, before rounding out its Group A matches against Afghanistan, Sir Lanka and Scotland in March.

Photo: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images.