Clark's Kent spell vital
Australian seamer Stuart Clark says his County Championship stint with Kent is vital for his chances of playing in the Ashes.
Last Updated: 31/03/09 10:47am
Australian seamer Stuart Clark says his County Championship stint with Kent is vital for his chances of playing in the Ashes this summer.
Clark missed Australia's tour to South Africa after undergoing elbow surgery, but is now back to full fitness and raring to get back bowling.
The 33-year-old has signed a six-week deal with Kent and will get some vital match practice in English conditions under his belt ahead of the Ashes.
Some concerns have been raised by England backers about the county giving a possible Ashes threat the chance to get used to bowling in England ahead of the contest, which starts in Cardiff in July.
Clark is just desperate to return to action in order to press his claims for a recall in time to face England in the Ashes, and his move to Kent is vitally important.
"For me this move is vital because I'll need the miles in the legs," said Clark. "The elbow feels excellent.
"There's no soreness or swelling and it feels as good as new. I think I've done enough over the years to suggest I can obviously play (in the Ashes), it's just a matter of being right when it's time to go."
Clark has played in English conditions before with Middlesex, and hopes that his knowledge and experience will help his case with the Australian selectors.
Mitchell Johnson has emerged as Australia's top paceman in the absence of Clark and Brett Lee, while Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus also did well in South Africa, but Clark thinks he has the edge.
"I realised I had to get some cricket under my belt before the Ashes, that is one of the reasons for me going over there," Clark added. "It will be good to get experience in their conditions in the lead up to the series.
"When I am fit I will come into serious calculation (with the selectors)."
"It is good for the game that a lot of guys are doing well, but I think I'm the only bowler with experience in those conditions. The only ground I haven't played at is Cardiff where we're playing the first Test."
With left-armer Johnson a certainty, Clark thinks that even Lee could struggle to get back into the side once he returns from injury.
"It's not going to come down to what I want or what Brett wants, it's going to be what the selectors want.
"They are going to chose the top three fast bowlers for the team, and I think I have done enough with my time in the Test team.
"I feel personally that I am one of those top three at full fitness. I am feeling as fit as I ever have."