Clarke ready to return
Clarke ready to return

Australian captain Michael Clarke is expected to return to the one-day side for Friday's series opener against the West Indies after missing the past week with an ankle injury.

The 31-year-old arrived in Perth yesterday for the two one-day internationals at the WACA Ground on Friday and Sunday.

Clarke was denied a net session at the ground because of late notice, but teammate Clint McKay was confident the skipper would be available for Friday's match.

"He's looking fit as ever and walking fine," McKay said.

"I'm sure Friday he'll be the first one out there leading us out there as the great skipper he is and I'm sure he's going to make a lot of runs this series."

Clarke injured an ankle last week in a fielding drill and was ruled out of Australia's final one-day match against Sri Lanka at Bellerive Oval.

He had only played two of the previous four ODIs after being rested for the opening two Sri Lankan fixtures.

His return provides the top order with some much-needed experience after 35-year-old David Hussey was dropped for 26-year-old Victorian teammate Aaron Finch.

Tasmanian James Faulkner has been brought into the squad to replace Moises Henriques, who injured a finger playing for NSW against WA last week.

The West Indies are due to arrive in Perth tonight after their clash with the Prime Minister's XI in Canberra yesterday.

The world T20 champions lost to Bangladesh 3-2 in their most recent one-day series, but are confident they can match it with Australia after drawing 2-2 in the Caribbean last year.

McKay said it was only a matter of time before the Windies climbed the ODI rankings following their T20 triumph.

"The West Indies are a great team and a really dangerous one in the shorter formats," he said.

"They're quite a star-studded line-up and it's going to be a very tough series."

He said it would be crucial for the Australians to limit the influence of the visitors' brigade of big-hitting batsmen, including Chris Gayle.

"That's the nature of one-day cricket and that's what the crowd wants to see, some big hits, wickets and a fast-paced game," he said.

"They've got some very dangerous players and that's something that us bowlers have got to come up with - our plans to make sure that we limit the damage."

McKay said history indicated the WACA wicket would favour the quicks. "Generally the WACA is quite a good strip, a little bit of pace and bounce there but usually pretty flat for the batters as well," he said.

"We know we need to get our lines and lengths spot on otherwise we could get hurt, but if we do get it in the right areas then it gets us in the game as well."

"He's looking fit as ever and walking fine. I'm sure Friday he'll be the first one out there ..." " * Clint McKay * on *Michael Clarke *

The West Australian

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