Clarke delays Windies tour departure

Sydney, May 9:

Australian vice captain Michael Clarke has delayed his departure for the West Indies due to family reasons and his participation in the tour remains in doubt, officials said on Friday.

Cricket Australia (CA) said Clarke had been given compassionate leave to remain in Sydney for “private family reasons” and would not leave for the Caribbean with his teammates on Saturday. “Clarke’s arrival date in the West Indies is currently unclear,” CA said in a statement.

Michael Hussey would assume the role of vice captain until Clarke arrived, CA said, shortly before announcing Brad Hodge would be a “shadow player” replacing the missing batsman on tour.

“Despite the circumstances it is a huge honour to be given the role of vice captain, even if it may only be for a short period of time,” Hussey said.

The Australian newspaper’s website said Clarke was remaining in Sydney due to the failing health of his fiancee’s father.

Australia will play the first Test in the West Indies in Jamaica on May 22, moving to Antigua for the second from May 30 and the final Test in Barbados on June 12.

The Australian tour will also include one Twenty20 international match and five-one day internationals.