Michael Clarke expects to be fit to lead Australia in the Ashes
Last Updated: 15/05/13 11:52am
Michael Clarke: Has been struggling with a back complaint
Australia captain Michael Clarke is confident he will be fit to lead his team against England in this summer's Ashes series.
Clarke fitness had been cast into doubt due to a long-standing back problem that flared up during the tour of India earlier this year.
But the 32-year-old has revealed his fitness has improved ahead of his departure for England later this month for the Champions Trophy and then the Ashes in two months' time.
Clarke managing fitness for Ashes
"I need to make sure I'm fit. I'm really confident that with the work I've been doing that I will be," he said.
"I've managed to play 90-odd Test matches and only missed one through my career so that's a big part of why preparation is so important for me."
Clarke has also revealed that former vice-captain Shane Watson is on course to return to bowling duties in England.
Watson has not bowled for his country for the past six months - as part of a programme to ensure his fitness before the Ashes - but has resumed all-round duties for the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League.
"Shane Watson is one of the best all-rounders in the world, there's no doubt about that," said Clarke.
"It's exciting to see him back bowling in the IPL and hopefully he'll be able to do that for Australia as well soon.
"He's been having some success in the IPL with bat and ball. He's a big player for us and we want him fully fit with bat and ball."