Michael Clarke has not yet given up hope of playing in the fourth and final Test against India, starting in Delhi on Friday.
He was present at Australia’s practice session at the Ferozshah Kotla in Delhi on Wednesday, but did not bat, bowl or train. He was seen having a lengthy conversation with coach Mickey Arthur and selector Rodney Marsh.
Australia's captain was down with a sore back during the third Test in Mohali and forced to bat at No.6 in the second innings.
The visitors are in a desperate situation after losing the first three Tests and will be looking to avoid the humiliation of a 4-0 series whitewash in Delhi.
Clarke, who is Australia’s best batsman on the current tour, and the only one to hit a century for the visitors, is apparently trying hard to get himself fit for the Test, which begins in two days time.
Opener Ed Cowan said he spoke to Clarke, who is expecting to get fit for the match.
“He basically said that he has got the best possible medical team working overtime on his back; it is a condition that he has got for a long time and he has not missed a Test yet, so he is not expecting to miss this,” Cowan said.
If Clarke fails to recover in time, then vice-captain Shane Watson will lead the team.
Watson was dropped from the team for the third Test before he returned home to Australia for the birth of his child. He had said he is contemplating his Test future.
Clarke, batting at No. 6 in the second innings in Mohali, was seen in a lot of discomfort when out in the middle.
"My fingers are crossed I will be doing everything I can to give myself the best chance. I guess I am always pretty positive, touch wood I haven't missed a Test match due to injury so far in my career and I wouldn't like this to be my first one. If I can't perform at my best, if I feel I am going to let the team down, I won't be taking the field,” he had said after the Mohali Test.
Cowan echoed his words, saying only Clarke would be able to judge his fitness status since he is grappling with this injury for a few years now.
“But it is a day to day proposition so I don’t know what the possibility or the probability of playing Test matches, but he is pretty confident, I guess, because he is so familiar with it and it is something that he deals on a daily basis. He will be alright I guess,” Cowan added.
Australia were also dealt another injury blow as pacer Mitchell Starc had to return home to have surgery to remove the bone spurs on his right ankle. Fellow-fast bowler James Pattinson is expected to take his place in the playing eleven.