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Shane Watson optimistic on Michael Clarke’s fitness for India tests

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Sydney: Shane Watson would be honoured to stand in for Michael Clarke as test skipper against India next month even if he thinks it`s increasingly unlikely that Australia will need a caretaker captain.

Australia are sweating on Clarke`s hamstring injury ahead of an important three months of cricket on home soil, which takes in the four tests against India and the co-hosting of the 50-over World Cup with New Zealand.

All rounder Watson, who has had more than a few injury problems of his own in recent years, said he had spoken to Clarke and the prognosis for the injury was improving.

“The diagnosis is, I think, better than what it was initially, which is a great thing. It`s all very positive,” Watson told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

“Everyone`s got their fingers crossed. Hopefully, over the next week or so, it`ll continue to improve really well and he`ll right for the first test.”

Watson was the stand-in last year in India when Clarke missed his only test since he replaced Ricky Ponting as captain in March 2011.

On the comeback trail himself in the one-day series against South Africa having missed half a year of international cricket because of injury, Watson said his focus was on proving himself worthy of a recall to the test side.

“I just need to be scoring runs over the next couple of weeks to give myself the best opportunity to be able to do that,” he added.

Watson should get his chance in the remaining three one-dayers against the Proteas, in Canberra on Wednesday, Melbourne on Friday and Sydney on Sunday. The series is tied at 1-1.

The test series against India begins in Brisbane on Dec. 4 with matches in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney to follow.

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