michael clarke, australia cricket
-Photo by Reuters

SYDNEY: Australian captain Michael Clarke is suffering from a sore back and has been ordered to miss the opening round of the Big Bash League so he can recover for the first Test against Sri Lanka next week.

Clarke has long been troubled by lower back problems and the issue flared again after the third and final Test with South Africa in Perth that ended in defeat Monday.

“Our medical staff have advised Michael not to play cricket this weekend,” Cricket Australia team performance manager Pat Howard said in a statement on Wednesday.

Cricket Australia also told pacemen Ben Hilfenhaus and John Hastings to sit out the initial round of the domestic Twenty20 league, while Test hopeful Josh Hazlewood has been ruled out for at least a month because of a foot injury.

Australia names its squad Thursday for the first Test against Sri Lanka starting in Hobart on December 14.

Cricket Australia's chief medical officer Justin Paoloni did not comment on Clarke or Hilfenhaus but said Hastings had some back pain at the end of the Perth Test.

“He had scans that have ruled out serious injury. He will be reviewed later this week to determine his return to training and playing,” he said.

“He will miss the first T20 Big Bash League game and possibly be unavailable for selection for the first Test versus Sri Lanka in Hobart, depending on how he responds to treatment.”

Hazlewood reported some left foot soreness in the same region of his foot where he had a stress fracture last season.

“Because of his age and history with this type of injury, he will have a short break from bowling for a few weeks and be back playing in approximately 4-6 weeks,” said Paoloni.

Sri Lanka play three Tests against Australia, in Hobart (December 14-18), Melbourne (December 26-30) and Sydney (January 3-7).

The teams also clash in five one-day internationals and two Twenty20 games.

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