Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke will undergo surgery on his injured right hamstring on Tuesday, increasing the likelihood he won’t be a part of the World Cup campaign.
Clarke suffered serious back and hamstring injuries during the thrilling first Test win over India in Adelaide last week.
He conceded after the match there was a chance he would never play for his country again, while saying he also hoped to be fit in time to captain Australia on home soil in the World Cup beginning in February.
But Cricket Australia announced on Monday night that the severity of the injury to Clarke’s right hamstring meant that surgery was required.
“Michael was assessed by a surgeon in Melbourne early this evening and will be undergoing surgery tomorrow to repair his injured right hamstring,” team doctor Peter Brukner said in a statement.
“Whilst surgery is not always required with hamstring injuries, Michael has substantial damage to a key part of the hamstring tendon and it was felt the best course of action was to surgically repair the damaged area.
“His recovery and the timing of his return to play will be dependent on the surgeons advice and how well he recovers in the coming weeks.”
The fact national selectors gave the Test captaincy to Clarke’s long-term replacement Steve Smith instead of using Brad Haddin does not bode well for the 33-year-old.
“These are difficult circumstances given Michael’s injury and the fact that we don’t know how long he will be out of the game,” chief selector Rod Marsh explained.
“What we do know is that it won’t be an overnight fix.”
George Bailey remains Clarke’s understudy in one-day internationals.
Team performance chief Pat Howard said on Monday the issue of who leads Australia at the World Cup had been “quarantined”.
“The next 24 to 48 hours will give us far better guidance on that process. But I think George Bailey has done a fantastic job,” Howard said.
“We’re No.1 in the world. He’s led the last two series, so all that was discussed.”
Coach Darren Lehmann said on Sunday that Clarke would need to be “fully fit” to take part in the World Cup, which starts on February 14.
National selectors would presumably not want to take a risk on Clarke returning in a knockout fixture.
Their concern lies not only with Clarke’s current state of health, but the prospect he could ping a hamstring at any moment.
Team physio Alex Kountouris, speaking last month as Clarke raced the clock to play the first Test, admitted it was a hard issue to manage.
“Once he’s done it once, twice, the risks go up of a recurrence. How we minimise those risks is difficult,” Kountouris said, then analysing Clarke’s left hamstring injury.
Clarke injured his right hamstring on Saturday.