Sydney, Feb.12 (ANI): Australian cricket vice-captain Michael Clarke's back injury has left him in doubt for Friday's series-deciding Chappell-Hadlee Trophy match and may also prevent him from captaining the side a one-off Twenty 20 clash with the Black caps.
According to Fox Sports, if Clarke's injury shows no signs of recovery, Ponting may be asked by the selectors to play in Sunday's Twenty20 match against New Zealand at the SCG, the day before the team leaves for South Africa.
He and Mike Hussey are currently on rest.
Clarke is currently in Brisbane for treatment.f Clarke is unable to play and struggles to overcome his bad back in time for Sunday's match, it is unlikely that wicketkeeper Brad Haddin would be left in charge of the team for the Twenty20 game.
Ponting had only one of a scheduled two-game break last week and was hastily recalled for last Friday's match amid growing unrest after Australia went 2-0 down. It levelled the series after winning in Adelaide on Tuesday night.
Chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch and his four-man panel have been desperate to rest Ponting and Hussey before the tour of South Africa.
"Given the high workload of Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey since the India Test series in October we have decided, in consultation with these players, it is appropriate they miss this game," Hilditch said of Sunday's Twenty20 match.
"With a hectic and competitive South African campaign departing the day after this match, we felt this option was best in the interest of the players' workload management."
Just when it appeared Australia had found a stable and reliable one-day opening pair during a season of upheaval, a new partner may have to be found for the recently promoted Haddin if Clarke cannot prove his fitness in time.
Australia team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris claimed the vice-captain was in no danger of missing the South Africa tour but is not so sure about Clarke's immediate future.
He woke up sore on Tuesday and became worse each time he dived in the field. It is not the lower back, where he usually has problems, but his upper back," Kountouris said.
Clarke will not train on Thursday and may be given until Friday morning to prove his fitness.
If he is unable to play it would be a major blow for Australia as it attempts to salvage something from its one-day summer. (ANI)