Cricket: Australia said Tuesday Clarke quit tour of New Zealand


WELLINGTON, New Zealand: Vice-captain Michael Clarke quit Australia's cricket tour of New Zealand for undisclosed personal reasons and has returned to his Sydney home.

Clarke, 28, left the team hotel Monday, on the eve of its third one-day international against New Zealand at Hamilton, and it was not known if or when he would rejoin the tour, Cricket Australia general manager of cricket Michael Brown said Tuesday.

"Michael is attending to personal, non-cricket matters and we ask on his behalf that his privacy be respected," Brown said.

Clarke's fiancee, Australian model Lara Bingle, recently announced she would sue former boyfriend and Australian Rules football player Brendan Fevola over nude photographs allegedly taken during their relationship that were later distributed without her permission.

An Australian magazine last week published a photo of Bingle in the shower, allegedly taken in 2006 while she and the married Fevola were involved in a relationship.

Bingle, 22, said she was humiliated by the photo's publication and was suing the footballer to restore her "dignity and self respect".

Cricket Australia named Tasmania's George Bailey as Clarke's replacement for the remainder of the five-match, limited-overs series.

Australian selectors were due to name a squad Tuesday for two test matches against New Zealand but delayed the announcement while Clarke's availability remained uncertain.

"Due to Michael Clarke returning to Australia for personal reasons, the national selection panel has today added George Bailey to the one day squad," chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch said.

"George is having an outstanding season in all forms of the game and richly deserves this opportunity to join the Australian squad," he added.

"He is a talented and exciting batsman and we are confident if the opportunity arises he will perform well at international level for Australia." - AP

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