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Clarke out of Delhi Test, Watson to skipper Australia

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Shane Watson will become Australia’s 44th Test captain today after Michael Clarke was withdrawn from the fourth and final Test against India with a back injury.

Watson said it was an honour to be appointed to the role; “It’s really a dream come true to be asked to captain your country. I’ve captained some one-day internationals, but to be asked to captain a Test will be the ultimate honour.

“It’s obviously very disappointing that Michael hasn’t come up, his batting and leadership will certainly be sorely missed, but I’m looking forward to the challenge and responsibility over the next five days.”

Commenting on Michael Clarke’s injury, Australian team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said: “Michael injured his lower back during the 3rd Test. Whilst there has been some slow improvement, he is still well short of full function so was unable to train and will not be available to play the 4th Test. The plan is for Michael to return to Sydney as soon as possible to have a series of scans and we will monitor his progress over the coming days before deciding on the best course of action. We will be taking the opportunity to investigate and manage his ongoing hamstring injury that has been intermittently troubling him since the Australian summer. A decision on his return to cricket will be made once we have evaluated the scans and considered the possible management options.”

On duty CA National Selection Panel member, Rod Marsh said: “ Michael gave himself every opportunity to play, has worked hard to be fit and done everything the medical staff have asked of him but has not come up.

“The decision for Shane Watson to step in as captain was a very straight forward one for the NSP. Shane is the vice-captain on this tour and as a senior member of the group is well credentialed to lead Australia in Michael’s absence. The CA Board has endorsed the NSP recommendation that Shane should captain Australian in the fourth Test. Shane is an experienced player in Indian conditions and has captained the Australian ODI side nine times.

“The board also approved the nomination of Matthew Wade as vice-captain for this Test which will be a great experience for the young wicket-keeper.”