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Clarke to lead NSW in early Shield games
Adrian Warren
19:58 AEST Mon Sep 10 2012
Michael Clarke
Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke will lead NSW in their first two Sheffield Shield matches.

Australian Test and one-day captain Michael Clarke will lead NSW in their first two Sheffield Shield matches this season.

Clarke, who has recently returned from one-day matches against Afghanistan and Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, will lead the team in their first four-day game against Western Australia in Perth starting on September 18.

He will back up for the Blues' second Shield fixture against Tasmania at Bankstown in Sydney the following week.

Clarke doesn't play T20 for Australia and the early Shield games will give him and some of the Blues' other internationals valuable match practice before the start of the three-Test series with South Africa in early November.

The Blues will start their campaign next Sunday with a one-day game against the Warriors in Perth.

The NSW teams for both the one and four-day games against WA will be announced on Tuesday.

The Blues will not play any matches in October.

Both NSW and WA are making an early start to the season, as many of their key players will either be on T20 World Cup and/or Champions League T20 duty with the Sydney Sixers and Perth Scorchers.

NSW will have four players away on World Cup duty - batsmen David Warner and Shane Watson and pacemen Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc.

When Clarke is away, NSW will again be captained by allrounder Stephen O'Keefe, who led the team for most of last summer.

Cricket NSW on Monday confirmed rookie-contracted Blues paceman Nic Bills was arrested on August 17 after returning a low-range blood alcohol reading of 0.062 following a random breath test.

"The matter will be subject to the legal process after which Nic Bills will face a Cricket NSW disciplinary panel to determine his penalty," Cricket NSW chief executive David Gilbert said in a statement.

"Nic has expressed deep remorse for his actions.

"Cricket NSW's decade-long delivery of the NSW Governments road safety initiatives has been highly successful.

"However this is an extremely disappointing incident and serves as a strong reminder that drivers must think ahead and plan how they will get home if they are going to have a drink."