Melbourne:Australia fast bowler Stuart Clark could be ruled out of the return tour of South Africa after failing to recover from his elbow injury, a newspaper report claimed on Wednesday.
Clark was supposed to take part in New South Wales' Sheffield Shield match against Tasmania on Thursday but will miss the action.
The selectors are expected to use the match to pick the squad for the tour of South Africa and Clark's absence could mean that he would be left out, 'The Age' reported.
"Clark had surgery six weeks ago to remove bone spurs from his right elbow and returned to take four wickets for Sydney University on Sunday. He conceded afterwards that all would depend on how his arm reacted to the strain in the following days but, unfortunately, his elbow has not pulled up well and Burt Cockley has been called up in his place for NSW," the newspaper said.
With Brett Lee already ruled out of the tour, Clark's absence could further dent Australia's hopes of winning against Graeme Smith's team after the Proteas humiliated them both in the Test and One-day series.
The speed duo's absence would also mean that Australia would go in with an inexperienced pace attack, with Mitchell Johnson the only regular face.