Clarke in, Dhoni out, Hughes 13th man
ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) – Australia captain Michael Clarke will play in what is expected to be an emotion-charged first Test against India after overcoming a hamstring injury to take his place in the Adelaide Oval match.
India captain M.S. Dohni, though, was not able to recover from a fractured left thumb and will be replaced by Virat Kohli, who makes his debut as Test skipper.
“Yes, I will be leading tomorrow,” Kohli said. “It is a big moment for me.”
Kohli said because of several injury concerns, his team’s starting XI will not be named until just before the toss.
Fast bowler Mitchell Johnson says Clarke is “100 per cent fit” and will lead a team Tuesday that includes paceman Josh Hazlewood as 12th man.
An honorary “13th man” will be Phillip Hughes, who died on November 27 after being hit by a short-pitched delivery in a domestic match. Hughes will also be given a tribute ahead of the start of the match on Tuesday.
Johnson said Hughes’ death would be in the minds of all players on Tuesday.
“It’s going to be an emotional morning … for me going out there bowling, the first spell might be the most difficult,” Johnson said Monday.
Kohli was probably closer to Hughes than most Indian players, having attended an Australian camp with him several years ago.
“It was pretty sad place for all,” Kohli said. “We tried to stay on track, but at the end of the day, we don’t want to be in a situation where we are lacking preparation.”
Johnson said Clarke’s place in the side will be a “huge boost” for the hosts.
Kohli said Dohni would likely be fit enough to lead India at Brisbane.
Cricket Australia said spectators at the Adelaide Oval will be asked to stand for 63 seconds of applause before the match begins Tuesday. Hughes was 63 not out when he was struck by a short-pitched delivery at the Sydney Cricket Ground on November. 25.
The Australian players will also wear Hughes’ test cap No. 408 on their shirts.