Michael Clarke Australia
Michael Clarke is hopeful of making it for the first Test against IndiaReuters

Michael Clarke has been given two days to show he can indeed lead Australia, in the first Test match against India, with fitness on his side.

Clarke went down with a hamstring injury, one of many hamstring injuries the batsman has suffered of late, in the ODI series against South Africa, with initial reports then suggesting the Aussie skipper could miss the entire Test series against India.

However, Clarke has shown he is determined to get back to playing as quickly as possible, and Cricket Australia picked the captain in a 12-man squad for the first Test starting 4 December, subject to him proving his fitness.

Clarke has until Wednesday to start running freely, before playing in a tour match against the Indians on Friday in Adelaide.

"We still have some time before having to make a final decision on Michael's fitness," Australia team doctor Peter Brukner said. "As you would expect, he's desperate to play and we are doing all that we can to ensure he can do just that.

"Over the coming days the plan is to build him up so that he can resume running with the ultimate aim of getting him some high-intensity match practice ahead of the first Test."

Chairman of selectors Rod Marsh is also hopeful Clarke can make it in time for the first Test in Brisbane starting Thursday week.

"We would have preferred him to play in the round of Sheffield Shield starting tomorrow but unfortunately his condition did not allow him enough time to be ready for that match," Marsh said on Monday.

"The aim is for him to play in the two-day CA XI match against India at the Adelaide Oval starting this Friday and his selection for the first Test is very much dependent on him pulling up well from that match.

"It goes without saying that Michael is a world-class batsman and it is important that he is 100 percent fit to be able to play in the first Test."

However, Clarke later admitted he would not be fit in time to play in that practice match in Adelaide.

"My goal is to try and get myself fit to play whatever game's available," Clarke said. "The next game on the table that I am available for, if I can be fit, is grade cricket on Saturday.

"So ideally if I can tick all the boxes along the way and play on Saturday, get through that. Hopefully I can make myself available then it is completely up to the selectors to work out what to do.

"My focus is listening to the experts as I've always done. Over the last 10, 12 years I've been playing for Australia I don't think I've ever walked onto a field not being 100 percent fit to perform.

So I would hope with my experience that the selectors, my teammates, Cricket Australia staff respect my opinion there."

Also named in the squad for the first Test against India are Josh Hazlewood, who was so impressive in the ODIs against South Africa, and Ryan Harris, who is making a comeback from yet another injury problem – this time from knee surgery.

Harris will play in a Sheffield Shield match as the bowler himself has admitted he needs more bowling time before jumping back into Test cricket, which suggests Hazlewood might just be in line for a Test debut against India, with Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Starc the players missing out from their last Test against Pakistan.

"Josh is a young player of great talent and he thoroughly deserves this opportunity," added Marsh. "He has impressed in the recent one-day series and we are excited to see what he can produce if given the opportunity in Brisbane.

"Ryan has worked extremely hard to return to elite cricket following his knee surgery. We know what a quality player he is. He will play in this upcoming round of Sheffield Shield to get more bowling under his belt but we are all hopeful he will be ready for a big summer of cricket."

Australia squad: Michael Clarke (capt), Brad Haddin (vice capt), Ryan Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Chris Rogers, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, David Warner, Shane Watson.

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