Captain Courageous Clarke to Make Timely Return

Australia are favourites to win the Cricket World Cup on home soil and Michael Clarke's inclusion will only boost the Aussies' hopes of claiming their fifth title.

Australia may have dominated the recent One day International Tri Series against India and England without Michael Clarke but the injured skipper been assured his World Cup spot should he be fit. The 33 year old appears to be winning the race against the clock to take his place in Australia’s one day squad as he continues his comeback from his hamstring tear. Clarke is an important piece in Australia’s middle order puzzle and will be a welcome addition when the tournament gets underway on February 14, though the Skipper isn’t likely to feature in the opening game.

Michael in the Middle and Making Progress

Clarke returned to club cricket 7 weeks after injuring his hamstring in Australia’s first test against India, on the same weekend the Aussies romped England in the ODI Tri Series final. He made 51 runs off 128 balls for Western Suburbs in an innings which lasted almost 3 hours. But the knock wasn’t about numbers, rather how Clarke coped with the movements during batting. He moved his muscles freely enough to confirm he’s on track to take part in Australia’s second World Cup match against Bangladesh on February 21.

Clarke Consistently one of Australia’s Best

Despite Australia’s recent success without Clarke, the Captain is a vital cog in the side and especially in the middle order. Since making his ODI debut in 2003 Pup has played 238 matches and racked up 7762 runs from 217 innings. He averages 45 at a strike rate just under 80 in the 50 over format and can dig in when his side needs or play the stylish shots when chasing quick runs. He’s already contested 2 World Cups helping Australia win their third successive tournament in 2007; while he was also in the side that bowed out in the quarter finals 4 years ago. His experience at cricket’s biggest international competition could prove pivotal.

One Day Worries – Michael’s Been Missing

There’s no doubt Michael Clarke is one of the World’s best batsmen and he’s shown he can take apart any bowling attack. While he’s been tremendous at test level in recent years nobody’s seen enough of him in the coloured shirt to tell just where he’s at in the shorter format. With all due respect to Bangladesh, taking on the Tigers bowlers isn’t exactly the most difficult return to international cricket but it may just help him get his eye in for tougher tests the Aussies will face.

Australia is ranked the best one day team in the world and it’s no surprise the hosts are favourites to claim a fifth World Cup. The Aussies are in excellent form and with or without Clarke will take some beating. The stage is set to triumph on home soil, is Michael the man to lead his country to glory?