London, Aug.13 (ANI): As the debate rages over whether Australian pace bowler Stuart Clark should be picked for the Ashes-deciding Test at The Oval, England opener Cook and blue-collar battler Collingwood are praying he is overlooked.
Clark has the wood on the duo to such an extent that he has dismissed each man five times in the six Tests he has played against England, including sending them both back to the dressing room in the fourth Test at Headingley.
They aren't the only Englishmen Clark has made into his personal bunnies, with skipper Andrew Strauss falling to the canny quick four times in six Tests.
Those figures alone would seem to make Clark an irresistible case for selection in the fifth Test.
Not to mention that Clark boasts a career average of 18.44 against the Poms and the fact that he sparked Australia's Headingley rampage with 3-5 in 21 balls.
But the 33-year-old faces a desperate fight to cling to his place in the Test side for The Oval, with widespread calls to play spinner Nathan Hauritz on a pitch tipped to take turn.
If Hauritz wins back his spot, Clark would receive the unluckiest selection chop because fellow quicks Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus are all assured of a place in the game.
Former Test pacer Michael Kasprowicz insists a rejuvenated Clark must be part of Australia's future but believes selectors have a tough job in the short term trying to slot him into their side.
"It is such a delicate balancing act. He has such a fabulous record against England and he is absolutely a big part of Australia's future. But I guess the selection next week will be a team balance sort of thing. They have to strike a bit of a balance and you simply have to play a spinner at The Oval," Fox Sports quoted Kasprowicz, as saying.
Back-to-form quick Mitchell Johnson believes that having Clark in the side, with his nagging line and length, also benefits the bowlers at the other end.
"Having Stuart Clark there, it does complement our bowling," he said.
"It's good to have someone who can just put it on the spot for you. Stuart is the type of bowler who bowls a good line and length," said Johnson. (ANI)