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Australia have been handed a huge boost ahead of the Ashes series down under with the news Michael Clarke is set to return to action ahead of schedule.
Clarke has been forced to miss Australia’s recent tour of India with a long-standing back injury that troubled him throughout their 3-0 series defeat to England in the summer.
The Baggy Greens’ skipper has been undergoing intensive treatment and it seems to have paid off following the news he will return to action later this week.
Clarke was not expected to figure until November 6th when New South Wales took on Victoria in the Sheffield Shield.
However, NSW have named Clarke as their captain for the state’s clash with Tasmania that starts on Wednesday.
Cricket Australia confirmed the news in a statement on their website today and will now be keeping their fingers crossed that he comes through the match unscathed.
Fellow Australian Test players Nathan Lyon, Steve Smith and David Warner, who has been in great form with the bat in recent outings, will also play against Tasmania.
Clarke has not figured since scoring 75 against England in a one-day international on September 16 but looks to be on course for the opening Ashes Test in Brisbane on November 21.
Clarke’s fitness is key to Australia’s hopes as they attempt to prevent England from winning a fourth straight Ashes series.
He boasts an average of 52 in his 97 Test appearances for Australia.