Clarke will miss only first Test against West Indies

May 16th, 2008 - 2:55 pm ICT by admin  


Clarke will miss only first Test against West Indies Clarke will attend the funeral of Graham Bingle, his fiancee Lara’s father, in Sydney Friday and will then turn his attention back to cricket.

A Cricket Australia source said Thursday that Clarke hoped to leave for the Caribbean early next week and could arrive on the eve of Thursday’s first Test in Kingston, Jamaica, but will not play at Sabina Park.

His absence should mean in-form Simon Katich will relaunch his Test career after a gap of over two years. Clarke, the Australian vice-captain, would then be available for the second Test in Antigua, beginning May 30. Clarke opted not to leave with his Australian teammates last weekend because Bingle’s battle with cancer took a turn for the worse.

Victorian batsman Brad Hodge was called in from the Indian Premier League as a shadow player for Clarke. Hodge will return to the Kolkata Knight Riders and complete his five-week contract. It is unclear whether Lara Bingle will join the batsman in the Caribbean during the eight-week tour.

Meanwhile, as the Australian team prepares for its opening warm-up match, paceman Stuart Clark has revealed he has closely examined footage of Glenn McGrath bowling in the Caribbean to help find the secret of mastering West Indian wickets.

Clark, whose bowling action has long been compared with that of retired great McGrath, was unable to speak to his former teammate and mentor before arriving in Jamaica for the start of Australia’s tour this week.

But the 32-year-old said he had reviewed McGrath’s back catalogue of Windies tours to try to glean an insight into how he should approach the three-Test series.

“He obviously found the key over there,” said Clark, who was part of the World Cup squad in the Caribbean last year but played just one game, against Ireland.

“I haven’t talked to him. He was in India (for the Indian Premier League).

“But from the footage and the vision we have looked at, he was successful by keeping it pretty simple and being consistent and patient on these wickets.”

McGrath announced himself as Australia’s pace-bowling spearhead on his first tour to the West Indies in 1995 after stepping up in the absence of an injured Craig McDermott to play a leading role in Australia’s historic 2-1 series victory.

He took six five-wicket hauls in 10 Tests in the Caribbean, snaring 50 scalps at 20.70.

McGrath also had to contend with the blazing blades of Brian Lara and Richie Richardson.

But while the Windies batting line-up may seem far less imposing post-Lara, Clark said Australia could not underestimate Chris Gayle and Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

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