Clarke fit despite training ribs blow
Michael Clarke trains this week. Photo: Getty Images
Canberra has waited 100 years to host the Australian cricket team, but next Wednesday's one-day international at Manuka Oval almost lost two of its biggest stars in consecutive days.
Australian skipper Michael Clarke has confirmed he's fit to play in Friday's opening one-day clash with the West Indies in Perth despite copping a blow to the ribs while batting in the nets at training on Thursday.
But it seems unlikely star opener David Warner will play any role in the five-match series against the Windies, including next Wednesday's historic game under lights in Canberra.
Warner, who fractured his left thumb on Wednesday after being struck by paceman Mitchell Johnson at training, has been officially ruled out of the first two one-dayers against the Windies at the WACA.
Canberra is the third match in the series and the Australian team is likely to be unveiled on Monday, but Australian physiotherapist Kevin Simms said caution would be taken with Warner.
''While the fracture is very minor, it is not worth taking any risks,'' Simms said in a statement.
''We'll assess how he is progressing after that [first two games in Perth] to determine his availability for the remainder of the series.''
National selector John Inverarity would only confirm that Warner would take his place in the 17-man touring squad for India.
''The indications are that he'll certainly be OK for the first Test starting on the 22nd of February,'' Inverarity said.
Another scare was sent through the Australian camp on Thursday when Clarke, who has overcome an ankle injury, was struck by a rising delivery from paceman James Pattinson in the nets. But Clarke confirmed he would lead the team against the West Indies in Perth.
''I feel really good. My ankle's come along really well after spraining it in Hobart,'' Clarke said.
''I'm at full fitness. I've been doing all my running. I've had plenty of batting since I've been here, some bowling and lots of fielding. I'm 100 per cent and looking forward to being out there.''
There are also reports Australia may send some of its players to India as early as next Thursday, which could further compromise the strength of the team in Canberra. Wicketkeeper Matthew Wade and opener Phil Hughes are among those who are likely to travel early, but Cricket Australia would not confirm its plans.
Cricket Australia has already faced accusations this summer for fielding a ''B-team'' in the recent one-day series against Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, Usman Khawaja's score of 69 in the Prime Minister's XI match against the West Indies at Manuka last week has helped him take Warner's place in the one-day squad, while the Pakistan-born batsman was also named yesterday in the tour squad for India.
Khawaja is the front-runner to replace the retired Mike Hussey.
''I was in Canberra the other day when he got 69 against the West Indies and played really well,'' Inverarity said.
''So I think Usman is a very good chance of being in the first Test team.''
Hussey has endorsed Khawaja, saying the classy left-hander deserves a second chance at a Test career.
Khawaja has not been sighted since playing the last of his six Tests in December 2011. with AAP
Australian team to play West Indies on Friday: Michael Clarke (c), George Bailey, Aaron Finch, Phillip Hughes, Mitchell Johnson, James Faulkner, Glenn Maxwell, Clint McKay, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, Usman Khawaja.