Michael Clarke could miss the first Test against West Indies in Jamaica next week following the death of his fiancée Lara Bingle’s father. The rest of Australia’s squad departed for the Caribbean on the weekend but Clarke stayed at home having been given compassionate leave. Graham Bingle, who had been fighting cancer, died in Sydney on Saturday and with the funeral likely to be held later this week it is still unclear how long Clarke will remain in Australia. “My priority is Lara and her family,” Clarke told the Courier-Mail. “That’s all that matters at the moment.” If Clarke was to fly out on the weekend he could arrive in Jamaica with as little as two days before the first Test, which begins on Thursday May 22. But a lack of practice - his team-mates will have had a warm-up match by then - means he would be no certainty to play, according to the coach Tim Nielsen. “If he gets over for the first Test, he will need some preparation,” Nielsen said. “But as the Test gets closer, we’ll make some decisions and work out where he is at.” A Cricket Australia spokesman confirmed Clarke’s departure date was still up in the air. “Our thoughts are with Michael and Lara and the family at this difficult time,” the spokesman told AAP. “Michael’s providing support to his fiancée’s family ahead of the funeral and I’m sure that in due course, and when the time is right for both of them, he’ll be liaising with Cricket Australia about his future availability.” Brad Hodge, who was playing in the Indian Premier League, has been enlisted as a shadow player while Clarke is unavailable. However, the original squad featured Simon Katich as the backup batsman and he is more likely to play the Kingston Test than Hodge.
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Wednesday, May 14th, 2008 and is filed under Cricket, General.
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