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Fit-again Michael Clarke to lead Australia against Somerset

AFP
Jun 26, 2013 at 02:56am IST

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London: Fit-again Australia captain Michael Clarke will lead the side in their four-day tour match against Somerset, vice-captain Brad Haddin confirmed on Tuesday.

Clarke did not feature in defending champions' Australia's group stage exit from the Champions Trophy because of a long-standing back injury and has been sidelined from much of a trip to England that took a dramatic turn Monday when Mickey Arthur was sacked as head coach just 16 days from the Ashes.

Now the Somerset match, which starts on Wednesday, will be Australia's first under new coach Darren Lehmann.

Fit-again Michael Clarke to lead Australia against Somerset

Clarke will lead the side in their four-day tour match against Somerset, vice-captain Brad Haddin confirmed on Tuesday.

"Michael is definitely playing against Somerset, which is great news," said Haddin. "It is the first match of an Ashes tour and the Australian captain is pretty excited about being involved. He is in a good spot. He had a good catching session this morning and a bit of a hit, although I didn't see much of that as I was in the net beside him," the wicketkeeper added.

Haddin revealed the Australia team to face Somerset would be:

Ed Cowan, Shane Watson, Usman Khawaja, Phil Hughes, Michael Clarke (capt), Haddin (wkt), James Faulkner, Nathan Lyon, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson and Mithell Starc.

"That's the side we have decided to go with. We wanted to give this group a hit," Haddin said. "Chris Rogers has been playing a lot of cricket over the past couple of months (for Middlesex), so he is already in pretty good touch.

"I can't say what the batting order will be because I don't know. I could guess, but we will let Michael decide that on the day of the game."

Haddin, asked about South African coach Arthur's sacking, said: "We've had a change of coach, but we don't want to dwell on what has gone on before because that is of no benefit to anyone.

"Our job is to move forward and play some cricket.

A smiling Haddin added: "Training was good and sharp, so the new coach got a tick today! Darren is a good person, who loves the game of cricket and talking about it. He loves to see guys learning about cricket and has a lot of knowledge, so he is well respected over here and at home," said Haddin of former Yorkshire and Australia batsman Lehmann.

"He is very excited about getting the group together and playing some cricket. There has been enough talk, now it's time to get out there and enjoy the start of an Ashes tour. This is the most exciting tour you can possibly play on. The whole theatre around an Ashes series so you don't need any further motivation for the first training session."

England, who hold the Ashes, will be looking for a third straight series win over arch-rivals Australia -- something they last achieved in the 1950s -- when the first Test starts at Nottingham's Trent Bridge ground on July 10.

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