The Ashes: Michael Clarke believes seamer Ryan Harris will be fit for Durham clash
Michael Clarke is confident pace ace Ryan Harris will be fit to play in back-to-back Ashes Tests at Emirates Durham ICG.
Last Updated: 08/08/13 3:59pm
Harris has been one of Australia's star performers in the series so far, however his poor fitness record has cast a doubt over whether or not he will be available for this week's contest at Chester-le-Street.
Tasmania quick Jackson Bird has been added to the Australia XI that delivered a much improved performance in the drawn third Test at Old Trafford, but Clarke has dismissed speculation that Harris will be making way.
"In my mind I'm confident Ryano will be fine," Clarke said on Thursday. "Us not bowling on that last day because of the rain is definitely going to help our bowlers.
"If he is (fit) I think he should definitely be selected. He's a fantastic bowler, his record (58 Test wickets at 22.56) shows that, and I think we've seen throughout this series how important he is to our team."
As for the 26-year-old Bird's prospects of being selected for his first Test appearance since facing Sri Lanka at Sydney in January, Clarke said he would be treated like anyone else.
"I don't think anyone is here to 'give them a go'. That's not in any Test cricket and certainly not an Ashes series, especially the position we're sitting in now. It's about picking your best 11 players."
Australia tinkered with their batting order at Old Trafford, promoting David Warner to opener with Shane Watson dropping into the middle-order.
And Clarke admits finding the best order is a "good problem to have".
He added: "We've got options. Davey Warner has opened the batting in every Test match apart from one innings in his Test career and averaged close to 40.
"Chris Rogers has done really well and opened the batting his whole career in first-class cricket and so far for Australia.
"Watto's (Watson's) preferred position, he finds what best suits him is opening the batting as well. We have got so many openers, which is a good problem to have."