Clarke upbeat on fitness

  • Last Updated: February 12 2013, 6:22 GMT

Australia captain Michael Clarke is confident he will be fit for the first Test in India despite admitting his hamstring injury could keep him out of a crucial warm-up match this weekend.

Michael Clarke: Struggling with a hamstring injury
Michael Clarke: Struggling with a hamstring injury

Clarke flew out for Australia's four-Test tour of India on Tuesday morning still battling the hamstring problem sustained in the one-day international win over the West Indies last Friday night.

He was forced to sit out the final match of that series at the MCG on Sunday with the problem to his right hamstring which has plagued him since the Test matches with Sri Lanka in December.

Australia will begin a two-day game in Chennai on Tuesday before a final three-day hit-out this weekend which will be crucial preparation for next week's Test opener.

Clarke is hopeful of playing some part in that final clash but will take advice from physio Alex Kountouris before deciding if it is worth the risk before what will be a gruelling series.

"I'm feeling much better," said Clarke. "I've had four days now of recovery, rehab and a lot of physio so I'm certainly on the mend.

"I've got some time when I arrive in India to get myself 100 per cent fit as well. That's very positive for me.

"In my mind cricket-wise I feel like I need that game to spend some time in Indian conditions both batting and bowling, but also with my captaincy as well because India is such a different place to Australia.

"There's so much time I don't think there'll be any doubt I'll be fit for the first Test match."

Clarke, who has not missed a Test match through injury since making his debut in India almost nine years ago, said the warm-up matches would be hugely important to how the team performs in the opening Test.

Asked about the possible make-up of the side for the first Test, the skipper said: "It's very open, hence we've sent (17) players in three different stages to get over there as soon as possible to prepare and get used to conditions.

"Runs and wickets will certainly play a big part in these practice games leading up to the first Test but for a lot of guys it's more about preparation and seeing conditions.

"The more preparation we can get leading into that first Test match in Indian conditions the better. India is such a different place to Australia."

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