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Page last updated at 09:29 GMT, Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Michael Clarke in Australia squad for New Zealand Tests

Michael Clarke
Clarke is the 19th-ranked one-day batsman in the world

Vice-captain Michael Clarke has been named in the latest Australia Test squad despite recently returning home from New Zealand for personal reasons.

Clarke travelled home before Tuesday's third one-day international in Hamilton to be with his girlfriend who has been caught up in a media storm.

The 28-year-old has been named in a 14-man squad for the two Tests against New Zealand which start on 18 March.

But Cricket Australia are unsure whether Clarke will be available.

"I've talked to him over the last few days and we have a Test tour looming," said CA general manager Michael Brown.

"I would hope he's part of that group, but unless he's ready to go, there's no point going.

"We'll talk again over the next couple of days and our intention hopefully is to get him back in the side for the Test match."

There have been reports in the Australian media concerning Clarke's fiancee Lara Bingle, who is reportedly suing a former boyfriend after a nude photo of her was published in a magazine.

Australia captain Ricky Ponting has already made it clear that Clarke will not be rushed into returning to the side.

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"He knows from all of us within the team that he has got all the support that he needs," said Ponting.

"The last thing that I said to him before he left was for him to take as much time as he needed."

The Kiwis won the first one-day international but Australia now lead the series 2-1 with two matches left to play after Brad Haddin scored a match-winning century in Hamilton.

Meanwhile, Australian National Selection Panel (NSP) chairman Andrew Hilditch expressed confidence in the Test squad, which includes fast-medium bowler Ryan Harris, who has impressed in recent months, Phillip Hughes, who struggled during the Ashes in 2009, as well as promising all-rounder Steve Smith.

"Ryan Harris, having overcome injuries at the start of the season, has played really well for Australia in the shorter formats of the game," said Hilditch.

"The NSP are confident that if Ryan gets an opportunity he has the ability to have an impact for Australia in what will be a very hard Test series against New Zealand.

"Phillip Hughes has also been in excellent form at state level and richly deserves his selection on the back of another fantastic season in the Sheffield Shield.

"Steve Smith has had an excellent Shield season, including a big century against Tasmania recently. He adds great flexibility to the squad with his exciting stroke-play, leg-spin bowling and gifted fielding."


Australia Test squad:
Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Clarke (vice captain), Doug Bollinger, Brad Haddin, Nathan Hauritz, Ryan Harris, Phillip Hughes, Mike Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Simon Katich, Clint McKay, Marcus North, Steven Smith, Shane Watson.



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see also
Haddin ton sets up Australia win
09 Mar 10 |  Cricket
Aussies level series in Auckland
06 Mar 10 |  Cricket
New Zealand edge past Australia
03 Mar 10 |  Cricket
Australia cruise to Twenty20 win
26 Feb 10 |  Cricket
Australia in New Zealand 2010
31 Mar 10 |  Cricket
Clarke appointed Twenty20 skipper
16 Oct 09 |  Australia


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