There have been times since Clarke missed the final Test of Australia's 4-0 defeat in India with a recurrence of his back injury, and subsequently their three Champions Trophy matches last month, that it seemed their best batsmen might have to sit out at least some of this summer's Ashes.
But Clarke was fit again, and in form, for Australia's tour matches against Somerset and Worcestershire and then on Monday, having missed practice on Sunday, he was back in the nets with no apparent ill-effects.
His vice-captain Brad Haddin certainly did not sound like a man who might have to take over the extra responsibility when he spoke with confidence about Clarke's recovery.
"He's good to go," Haddin said. "He was back in the nets today, as normal."
Australia have only optional nets scheduled at Trent Bridge on Tuesday afternoon, before the action gets under way in earnest in the first of five Tests on Wednesday.
Haddin believes the tourists have it in them to upset the odds as England bid for a rare hat-trick of Ashes series successes.
"We've got a lot of talent in that room and some very, very exciting cricketers," he said. "It's going to be exciting to see them unleashed in the biggest series of all.
"But... time will tell where we're all at. We can be judged after the fifth Test.
"You've just got to win the big moments, and recognise them quicker than the opposition."
- Sports & Recreation
- Brad Haddin