Darren Lehmann Australia Michael Clarke
Darren Lehmann said Australia will make sure Michael Clarke is at a 100 percent for the World Cup to avoid firther injuryReuters

Australia coach Darren Lehmann insists the entire side are behind Michael Clarke and want theirskipper back in the team as soon as possible for the World Cup.

Clarke's availability for the World Cup remains under a cloud as the captain looks to battle back from a hamstring injury which has hampered him time and again over the past couple pf years.

The right-handed batsman has been given a 21 February deadline by Cricket Australia – the day of the home team's second match in the World Cup – and it does look like he will be able to make it in time after returning to action in a club match a few days ago.

While Clarke has been on the sidelines after the first Test against India, speculation has been rife over whether the skipper is the right man for the Australia job, with Steven Smith impressing immensely at the helm, while George Bailey – the man who will captain the side if Clarke is ruled out of the World Cup -- is a well-liked ODI skipper as well.

Clarke rubbished those reports recently, and as far as Lehmann is concerned, Australia need their captain back.

"He's captain of Australia, the second most important position behind the Prime Minister as such, we need our captain playing well," Lehman told radio station FiveAA. "When he played well he got a hundred in Adelaide and we won that Test match.

"We took a risk with that with his hamstring and the history of it but that was for good reason for obvious reasons as everyone knows.

"We all get on, that's the great thing. Media can say what they like. Media will speculate and people are going to have their views. From our point of view we want our captain fit, which is great leading into the most important tournament for four years.

"We've got the World Cup, the West Indies tour and the Ashes, and we want him ready to go because he leads this side very well."

Lehmann, though, did admit Australia would be more cautious over Clarke's fitness after it backfired last time, but he is hopeful of the skipper returning for the WC game against Bangladesh on 21 February.

"Now when he gets back we've got to make sure he's right to go. We can't afford it to keep going on us in important stages. He knows that, he's diligent, he's good to go and really confident he'll be right to lead us hopefully before Bangladesh, but definitely by Bangladesh."

Reports over whether Clarke will be fit or not in time will continue to rumble on until an official confirmation is made, but Lehmann is clearly tired of the speculation.

"I'm sick of it," added Lehmann. "I'm looking forward to him coming back. He played grade cricket on the weekend which is great, he's playing up here [Adelaide] on Thursday so I'll get to have a look at him.

"I had a good chat to him and he pulled up really well from the grade game. He's ahead of schedule and I think he's said that in the press as well. Fingers crossed he might be."

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