Clarke unsure about position in batting order

ROB FORSAITH
Last updated 17:29 07/12/2012
Michael Clarke STD
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UNSTOPPABLE: Michael Clarke has now scored 1428 runs in test match cricket in 2012.

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Captain Michael Clarke is open to shifting up from No 5 but says no firm decision has been made on what Phillip Hughes' selection means for the Australian batting order in next week's first test clash with Sri Lanka in Hobart.

Hughes is expected to bat at first drop after being selected as Ricky Ponting's replacement, with Shane Watson sliding to No 4.

However Hughes is a natural opener and, along with Watson and incumbents Ed Cowan and David Warner, has started proceedings for Australia in the past.

The flexibility means Clarke and coach Mickey Arthur have some difficult decisions to make ahead of the Bellerive test which starts next Friday.

"That (weighing up the different options) is something I've been doing over the past couple of days. We'll speak to Mickey Arthur about that when we get into camp in Hobart," Clarke said on Friday.

"I'm not sure about the batting order at this stage, we have some really good options.

"Hughesy can bat three, Shane Watson's batted three for us.

"Both of those guys have opened the batting for Australia as well, so I'm not really sure at this stage."

Another school of thought is that Clarke will slide up to No 4, something the 31-year-old insisted he is open to doing.

"As for where I bat, the number I bat doesn't bother me. It's about fitting in with what's best for the team," Clarke said.

Clarke also failed to shed any light on who was the front runner to win the pace bowling selection battle between Ben Hilfenhaus, Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc.

"When somebody doesn't play in a match it gives someone else an opportunity and that's what has happened," he said.

"Now we've got to work out what our best XI is for the first test in Hobart, and we'll make that call closer to the game."

Clarke said he had "absolutely no idea" about the fitness of pacemen Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle, who both missed Australia's last-start loss to South Africa.

"I've had two days with no mobile phone which has been lovely, to be honest," he said at the Big Bash League Sydney launch.

"We've picked them in the squad so we're confident they'll be fit in time for the first test in Hobart."

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