New Delhi, March 21 (IANS) Australia captain Michael Clarke Thursday said his chronic back injury will in no way cut short his international cricket career.
“No, I don’t think so, it won’t have any impact,” he said. “It hasn’t had any impact in regards to my Test cricket at this stage. I don’t think it will play any role at all,” Clarke told reporters ahead of the fourth and final Test here.
Clarke suffered his latest bout of back pain in Mohali — during the third Test that Australia lost by six wickets — but played on after taking pain-killers.
“Right now I’ve been able to manage it for what am I now, 31? I had my first scan at 17 that said I had degeneration in my disc. I’ve been able to manage it this long, I don’t see any reason why I can’t continue to manage it for the rest of my career.”
Clarke received intensive treatment from team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris after Mohali. Clarke was off the field for a while during which wicketkeeper Brad Haddin took over the reins of captaincy.
However, the return of vice-captain Shane Watson after a one-match suspension handed to him by Cricket Australia for disciplinary reasons means that the all-rounder will captain the side if Clarke pulls out.
“It’s a combination of things,” Clarke said. “My back gets irritated when I’m in flexion and I rotate, so I hurt it the other day doing fielding, sprinting for a ball, picking it up one way and throwing it off balance, which is exactly the opposite to what my back likes.
“But I’ve done that a number of times throughout my career in regards to every time I field. Sometimes with degeneration of the disc, it can flare up, but I will manage it as well as I can. I’m very grateful for the people around, especially Alex Kountouris, and my physio when I’m back in Sydney, to keep me on the park consistently.”
The Border-Gavaskar series has already been surrendered, so the only thing that can be gained in Delhi is pride.
“I don’t know if it’s as bad as it’s been. It’s not a nice feeling,” he said. “It was very uncomfortable and it impacted my performance [in Mohali], in regards to not the number of runs I made but the movement.
“I felt I couldn’t move down the wicket because I was so restricted and I’d hate to see what the fielding side of it looked like. For me as a batsman, if I can’t walk out there and make a hundred because this is going to restrict me doing that, then I don’t think it’s fair on the team to take the field.
“It’s slowly improving. If you ask Alex or the team doctor they might have a different impression but, hopefully, a good day, plenty of treatment, and I wake up in the morning, feel magnificent and I walk out and play another Test match for Australia.”