Australia captain Michael Clarke will remain in London while two of his Ashes team-mates - Phil Hughes and Matthew Wade - join up with the A squad before this week's tour match versus Gloucestershire in Bristol.Clarke is increasingly optimistic that he will be fully-recovered from his back problem in time for the start of the Investec Ashes next month, and is hoping to make his return in Australia's tour match against Somerset at Taunton from June 26.He will remain in the capital, however, until Australia's Ashes squad officially assembles on June 24 - along with James Faulkner, Mitchell Starc, Shane Watson, Chris Rogers and the banned David Warner.Batsman Hughes and wicketkeeper Wade are the two members of Australia's unsuccessful Champions Trophy touring party who will join the A squad in the west country.Australia were eliminated from the Champions Trophy yesterday with a 20-run defeat to Sri Lanka at The Oval. Baggy Green attention now switches to this summer's Ashes series, which begins on July 10 at Trent Bridge.Clarke has missed all three of Australia's Champions Trophy games due to a back injury he suffered during his team's 4-0 defeat in India, but it looks like the skipper will be fit to play at Taunton in the first of two pre-Ashes warm-up games.The Gloucestershire match has an extra spice to it as the home team will feature two Australians in Dan Christian, who will be making his debut for the county, and Michael Klinger.
Gloucestershire are currently in great form, second in their Yorkshire Bank 40 group and third in LV= County Championship Division Two.Director of cricket John Bracewell is optimistic of signing a spin bowler on loan from another county to compete in this season's Friends Life t20 and is even hopeful of clinching the deal in time for the player concerned to take part in the three-day game against Australia A.Bracewell said: "We are in negotiations to sign a spinner on loan from within our domestic game and it just remains to complete the final details."I can't reveal his name just yet. We are confident of making the signing, but the situation with loan signings is that the club letting the player leave can have him back at short notice."We are talking about a county spinner, who is not required by his own club at the moment, but we feel could do a good job for us."The plan is to sign him in time for the Australia A game because he would add balance to our attack in that fixture."With Ed Young injured and Jack Taylor suspended from bowling after being reported for an illegal action, Gloucestershire have been left with 17-year-old Miles Hammond as their senior spinner.Hammond has risen to the challenge superbly, but Bracewell is cautious about exposing the youngster to Twenty20 cricket so early in his career."I am a little bit concerned about throwing Miles into T20," he said. "He has such a natural release of the ball that he gets bounce and, while he has bowled extremely well in 40-over cricket and the championship; T20 is a different matter."