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Clarke considers Test line-up

By AAP .
12 February 2013 01:39PM EST

CAPTAIN Michael Clarke says he's yet to figure out his revamped Australian batting line-up for the first Test against India and what position Shane Watson will occupy.

Clarke spoke on Tuesday before leaving Australia to link up with the Test squad preparing for the first match of the four-Test series against India which starts in 10 days.

It will be the first Test since longtime middle-order mainstay Mike Hussey retired and will also bring the return from injury of vice-captain Watson.

Watson has expressed a desire to return to an opening position after accepting his susceptibility to injury must rule him out of an allrounder role for now.

But the current combination of David Warner and Ed Cowan held down the opening spots throughout the six summer Tests against South Africa and Sri Lanka and Clarke was supportive of them.

"Ed, like Davey Warner, had a really good summer and put their hand up against the No.1 Test team in the world (South Africa), so I think it's a really positive sign that we've got so many options in our squad," Clarke said.

"Obviously, Shane needs to come back into the line-up.

"It's a lot different now that Watto is not bowling. As an allrounder, I think he walks into any team.

"As a batsman, there is a much bigger pool of players so we've got to work out what our best batting lineup is."

With Hussey departed from the No.6 batting role, Clarke said he had the option of moving wicketkeeper Matthew Wade up one spot to six and including an extra bowler.

Alternatively he could keep Wade at seven and include an allrounder - either Moises Henriques or spinning allrounder Glenn Maxwell.

Clarke, who missed Australia's last one-day international against the West Indies with hamstring soreness, declared he was certain to be fit for the first Test in Chennai.

He also expects to play beforehand in the second practice match before continuing his proud record of never having missed a Test through injury despite ongoing back problems.

"I think I've been lucky throughout my career to be honest, with the degeneration in my back," Clarke said.

"To have played 89 Test matches and not missed one is something I'm very proud of."

Handy off-spinner Clarke, who returned his best Test bowling figures of 6-9 in India, said he was prepared to do as much bowling as necessary in the India series.

"I'm more than happy to bowl as much as I need to bowl," Clarke said.

He said the selection of the attack would revolve around picking the bowlers that best complemented each other rather than the four best individuals.

He said touring India was as tough a challenge as any in his career and he wasn't surprised old adversary Harbhajan Singh had been recalled to the Indian squad.

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