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Clarke demands 100% fitness from players
By Jim Morton
19:00 AEST Thu Jan 17 2013

Allrounder Moises Henriques has been cleared of a broken finger but is little chance of making his long-awaited return to international cricket at the Gabba on Friday.

If Michael Clarke's staunch defence of Australia's resting and rotation policy is to be followed, then Henriques will miss the third one-dayer against Sri Lanka as he won't be 100 per cent fit to play.

Two knocks in the nets on consecutive days - bowling on Wednesday and batting on Thursday - have left the 25-year-old with a badly bruised and cut right index finger.

Henriques was taken to hospital for X-rays on Thursday morning after copping a nasty short ball to his hand, but was cleared of a fracture.

Australian skipper Clarke admitted it would be a massive blow for his NSW teammate, who played his last ODI in 2009, if he was denied a cherished recall.

But Cricket Australia's new player management policy virtually ensures that to be the case.

Clarke said the days of Australian players being able to hold their spots despite niggles are long gone - which effectively rules out Henriques unless his swelling disappears overnight.

"Ten years ago, you had four or five or six or seven great players in one team," the captain said. "If they were 80 per cent fit, they were still good enough to win a game for Australia.

"Where we sit now as a team is, it is a lot different to that. The gap between the 11 players that take the field and the 12th-16th player is quite close.

"So if you are not 100 per cent fit to perform at your best, it is not worth the risk to the team for you to take the field and let the team down."

In-form Queenslander Ben Cutting and spinning allrounder Glenn Maxwell are in line to replace Henriques if he's ruled out.

While Cutting was a late addition to the squad as a standby for quicks Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc, he's in prime position with the Gabba conditions more likely to demand a four-pronged pace attack.

That would then rule the bowling allrounder out of playing for the Brisbane Heat in Saturday night's Big Bash final against the Scorchers in Perth.

Clarke will bat at No.3 in his return from a two-match rest to recover from a hamstring strain while wicketkeeper Matthew Wade will line up at No.6 to allow Phil Hughes to open with David Warner.

Likely teams:

Australia: Michael Clarke (capt), David Warner, Phil Hughes, George Bailey, David Hussey, Matthew Wade, Ben Cutting, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Clint McKay, Xavier Doherty.

Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Upul Tharanga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Ajantha Mendis.


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