Clarke facing race against injury to be ready

AUSTRALIAN captain Michael Clarke won't leave a stone unturned in his bid to play in next month's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Clarke, who missed the last three matches of the Border-Gavaskar Test series against India, was the main talking point after the joint-host unveiled its 15-man World Cup squad.

The 33-year-old, sidelined with a hamstring injury, is targeting Australia's second pool match against Bangladesh on February 21 as his comeback game.

Selectors have given the skipper that deadline of being available for that match, or face the prospect of being ruled out of the tournament.

That means Clarke will need to fast-track his recovery from the surgery he underwent on December 16 on his right hamstring.

"I've obviously got my work cut out," the Aussie skipper said.

"The experts believe I'm going to need every bit of that nine and half weeks to give myself every chance, (but) it won't be a lack of work that doesn't get me there, that's for sure.

"I'm confident I'll be fit. I'm sure there will be (fitness) tests along the way; my goal is to pass every single one of those."

The omission of highly-consistent Test paceman Ryan Harris from the squad was another major talking point, as was the inclusion of Xavier Doherty ahead of Nathan Lyon.

Chief Aussie selector Rod Marsh said Harris' one-day playing days were now officially over, citing the 35-year-old's advancing years and his recent history of injuries.

The selectors want Harris to be nursed through to this year's Ashes campaign.

Lyon took 23 wickets against India in the just-completed four-match Test series, while Doherty has averaged just under 40 runs per wicket at ODI level.

"We know exactly what we're going to get with Xavier," Marsh said.

"It's a little bit different these days because there are only four men outside the circle (due to new fielding restrictions) and it makes it a little bit more difficult I think for some spinners.

"I'll leave it at that."

The squad will begin its build up to the World Cup in the coming triangular one-day series involving England and India. Australia will take on England at the SCG on Friday.


Michael Clarke (c), George Bailey (vc), Pat Cummins, Xavier Doherty, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner, Shane Watson.