SYDNEY: Michael Clarke’s return to the Australia World Cup team looks like being put on hold with a potentially destructive cyclone set to hit the Queensland coast on Friday.
The storm, which will see winds of 285 kph (177 miles) hammering the northeast coast of the state, will bring torrential rain to Brisbane, where Australia are scheduled to play Bangladesh on Saturday.
With people in Brisbane and surrounding areas warned to stock up on supplies and volunteers handing out sandbags in the Queensland capital, it looks highly likely that the match at the Gabba will be washed out.
The teams were forced to practise indoors on Friday and if the Pool A match does not get underway or is abandoned then they will be awarded a point each.
Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza said that would probably help their chances of reaching the quarter-finals from Pool A.
“Yeah, but we are not looking for it,” he told reporters in Brisbane.
“If we can play good cricket here, definitely it would help us in the future against Sri Lanka, against New Zealand. So it is disappointing for us.”
It would definitely be a blow to Clarke, who missed Australia’s 111-run drubbing of England last weekend and has only played a warm-up against the United Arab Emirates since sustaining a hamstring injury last December.
The match against Bangladesh was the deadline peremptorily handed to the batsman by selectors to prove his fitness for the campaign, and Clarke told the pre-match news conference he was raring to go.
“I’ll put a lot of faith in my preparation and the work that I’ve done over the last eight and a half weeks and I’m really confident that I’m a hundred percent fit to walk out on that field and help the team have success,” he said.
“(But) as much as we’d like to get out on the field I think we need to realise how bad the cyclone is. I think I care most about the people of Queensland and making sure everybody is healthy and safe.”