Brisbane: Australian vice-captain Michael Clarke missed training due to a back injury Monday, casting doubt over his fitness for the first Ashes cricket Test against England.
Clarke has been troubled by a degenerative back condition for most of his Test career and Australian team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris has confirmed he is no certainty to play in the first Test which starts Thursday at Brisbane's Gabba ground.
Clarke was unable to play for his New South Wales state team in the most recent round of Australia's Sheffield Shield competition after aggravating the injury in an earlier Shield match.
Kountouris said Clarke's absence from training Monday was planned and his condition was being closely watched.
Clarke played no part in Australia's intense training on Monday. While his teammates warmed up, he walked laps of the Gabba oval before resting.
Allrounder Steve Smith, who remains a member of Australia's 13-man first Test squad, will likely play in Clarke's place if he is deemed unfit.