New Delhi: The latest recurrence of Michael Clarke's back spasm has raised questions about his long-term future but the Australia captain insisted that the chronic back troubles, which have plagued him for nearly half his life, will not force him to cut short his international career.
Clarke, ruled out of the ongoing fourth and final Test here due to back spasm, said that he will not let the injury make him quit the game earlier than he would prefer. "It won't have any impact, it hasn't had any impact in regards to my Test cricket at this stage. I don't think it will play any role at all," said Clarke. "Right now, I've been able to manage it for - what am I now, 31? I had my first scan at 17 that said I had degeneration in my disc. I've been able to manage it this long, I don't see any reason why I can't continue to manage it for the rest of my career," he added.
Clarke had suffered back spasm during a fielding drill in the third Test against India at Mohali, but the skipper expressed confidence that he could manage the degenerative discs in his lower back as he had done it throughout his career. "It's a combination of things, my back gets irritated when I'm in flexion and I rotate, so I hurt it the other day doing fielding, sprinting for a ball, picking it up one day and throwing it off balance, which is exactly the opposite to what my back likes.
"But I've done that a number of times throughout my career in regards to every time I field. Sometimes with degeneration of the disc, it can flare up, but I will manage it as well as I can," Clarke was quoted as saying by Sydney Morning Herald.
Clarke had received intensive treatment from team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris since the recurrence of the bout of pain but failed to recover in time to take the field. It is the first time that Clarke has been forced to miss a Test since he made his debut in 2004. "I'm very grateful for the people around, especially Alex Kountouris and my physio when I'm back in Sydney to keep me on the park consistently. I don't know if it's as bad as it's been. It's not a nice feeling, it was very uncomfortable and it affected my performance (in Mohali), in regards not to the number of runs I made but the movement," explained the skipper.
"I felt I couldn't move down the wicket because I was so restricted and I'd hate to see what the fielding side of it looked like. For me as a batsman if I can't walk out there and make a hundred because this is going to restrict me doing that, then I don't think it's fair on the team to take the field," he said.