Clarke to join Australian team for second Test

May 17th, 2008 - 1:28 pm ICT by admin  

Sydney, May 17 (IANS) Australian vice-captain Michael Clarke has confirmed he would be available for the second Test in the West Indies after spending time with his fiancee Lara Bingle who lost her father. Clarke Friday attended the funeral of Graham Bingle, who died last weekend from pancreatic cancer. The Australian vice-captain was unable to join his team mates when they left for the Caribbean last Saturday, effectively ruling him out of the first Test, beginning on Thursday in Jamaica.

But Clarke will link up with the Australians in time for the second Test in Antigua, reports Herald Sun.

“It has been a tough week for Lara and her family. I am glad I have been here,” Clarke was quoted as saying by the daily Friday night.

“We are grateful for the numerous cards of condolence over the past week and the kind words from friends, family and the public.

“I have decided to remain in Sydney for a couple more days to be with the family. I will miss the first Test and am sure the boys will serve Australia well. I am looking forward to catching up with the team and being ready to go for the second Test in Antigua.”

Cricket Australia operations manager Michael Brown last night said Clarke had the full support of the governing body.

“I’ve spoken with Michael and he has Cricket Australia’s absolute support that during this difficult time it is appropriate he spends a little more time with his fiancee’s family in advance of leaving for the West Indies,” Brown said.

“It is envisaged that if Brad Hodge is not selected in the 12 for the first Test, he will be released from squad duties in the West Indies.”

Victorian Hodge was drafted in as a shadow player for Clarke, but is unlikely to play in the first Test as Simon Katich was already the first reserve batsman.

Hodge will return to the Indian Premier League, where he was playing for the Kolkata Knight Riders before receiving a late Test call-up.

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