Melbourne:With team selection for Australia's crucial tour to South Africa looming around, pacer Stuart Clark and opener Phil Jaques are gearing up for competitive cricket at the weekend after long injury layoffs.
Clark will line up for Sydney University on Saturday and assess his troublesome elbow, which sidelined him before the Perth Test against South Africa last month.
The right-arm seamer will clash with Sutherland, who have Aussie opener Phil Jaques ready to test out his back. The experienced duo hope to pull through the weekend and play Sheffield Shield for their respective states before the Australian squad is decided on February 5.
Clark said he had not heard from selectors but hoped to get a clear idea on his situation once he had returned to the pitch.
"The elbow is coming along really well and with any luck I'll be playing club cricket on the weekend. I haven't got the final clearance from the medicos but that's the plan. I'm an 80 per cent chance of playing," he said.
"I've been running and doing weights and started bowling lightly last week. I had a light net session at the SCG and I'll have a more intense session when I'm a net bowler for the Australian team tomorrow.
"It's going well, there hasn't been any swelling and it's just a matter of playing it by ear. I need to be bowling at a level that the selectors feel is acceptable and if I'm confident I can do that. Hopefully I'm selected (for South Africa)," he was quoted as saying by 'Daily Telegraph'.
Jaques will play his first competitive match since undergoing surgery to a bulging disc in his back last October.