Michael Clarke is still hopeful that he will be fit to face India in Delhi

Last updated: 22nd March 2013  

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 Michael Clarke - Australia Jan 2013

Michael Clarke: Has aggravated a back problem and could miss the final Test

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Australia captain Michael Clarke says a decision on his fitness for the final Test against India will be left late.

Clarke aggravated an ongoing back problem during the third Test in Mohali, which Australia lost to go 3-0 down in the series.

If the skipper misses out, vice-captain Shane Watson will lead the side in Delhi, just 11 days after he was suspended for a breach of discipline.

But Clarke has not ruled himself out yet and said on Thursday: "I've got a little bit of time left before I need to make that decision.

"That will be, I guess, guided by the expertise of Alex Kountouris our physio and our team doctor as well, Peter Brukner.

"My fingers are still crossed and I'm still hopeful. My back is still a little bit sore at this stage but I've got 24 hours before I need to worry too much about it.


"I'm fortunate that the selectors at this stage will give me to the last minute as well.

"I will have plenty of treatment today, get down to training, and see how I go after training."

Clarke added that Watson, James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja are all in contention, having served one-match bans for failing to deliver a presentation on team performance.

"It is nice to have the whole squad available for selection again," said Clarke.

"The four guys are all looking for an opportunity to get back into this Test series and get selected in this Test.

"I think that, if we can take a result out of this Test match, that'll do our confidence the world of good, knowing that we've improved over the three Test matches.

"I know we've learned a lot but to get a win here would be very satisfying, that's for sure."India, meanwhile, will have to make at least one change to the side that triumphed last time out. Shikhar Dhawan smashed a stunning century on debut but has now been sidelined by a finger injury.

The opener's absence denies him the chance to play a Test in his home city, while it seems likely to open the door for Ajinkya Rahane to come in at the top of the order.

The hosts seem unlikely to make any further alterations as they look for a ninth win in the last 10 Tests at the Feroz Shah Kotla venue.

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