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Cricket: Clarke, Harris, Siddle to miss Shield game


Skipper Michael Clarke and pacemen Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle will miss this week's Sheffield Shield matches ahead of the Ashes opener against England, Cricket Australia said Sunday.

Instead, the three will prepare for the first Test starting November 21 at CA's new high performance facility in Brisbane.

CA's policy of resting fast bowlers from four-day Shield games has been criticised by former Test quicks Glenn McGrath and Geoff Lawson for over-protection and not allowing them to bowl enough overs ahead of the series.

But national team coach Darren Lehmann has backed CA's moves, saying it was sensible to take a cautious approach ahead of the five-Test series.

"We're very pleased with Michael's preparation ahead of the first Test," Lehmann said in a statement of Clarke, who is on the comeback from a back injury.

"The plan for his Ashes build-up was to play two Sheffield Shield matches, which he has done successfully. He has spent valuable time in the middle batting and fielding.

"Importantly his back has coped well in both matches, but we will continue to take a sensible and cautious approach to managing him."

Lehmann said Harris and Siddle, expected to share the new ball when the Australian squad is announced on Tuesday for the opening Test, were also in good shape.

"On the fast bowling front, Ryan and Peter are both in great condition," he said.

"As part of their management plan they will continue their preparation under the guidance of national coaching staff in Brisbane over the coming days."