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Clarke pulls out of T20 Champions League

SYDNEY (AP) - Australia vice-captain Michael Clarke has made himself unavailable for New South Wales in the inaugural Champions League Twenty20 cricket tournament in India next month due to a heavy international workload.

A day after Australia skipper Ricky Ponting quit international Twenty20 to prolong his Test and one-day international career, Clarke ruled himself out of the provincial T20 championship starting Oct. 8 in India.

New South Wales and Victoria states are representing Australia at the 12-team Champions League, which also features the top provincial teams from India, England, South Africa, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the West Indies.

The first Champions League was cancelled last December after the terror attacks on Mumbai.

Clarke, who led Australia in two T20 internationals and the start of the ODI series in England this month while Ponting returned home in the wake of the Ashes Test series loss, also missed the first season of the lucrative Indian Premier League T20 competition due to concerns over his international workload.

Australia will finish off a seven-match ODI series in England this month before heading for South Africa for the Champions Trophy limited-overs tournament. A limited-overs series in India is also on the calendar before Australia starts its domestic summer in November, featuring Test series against Pakistan and the West Indies.

Australian opener Simon Katich will lead the New South Wales team at the Champions League.

Other international players in the squad are: Brett Lee, Stuart Clark, Phil Hughes, Nathan Hauritz, Nathan Bracken and David Warner.

Test wicketkeeper Brad Haddin was included in the squad pending medical clearance on the finger he injured in the 2-1 Ashes series loss in England.

New South Wales was grouped with English T20 champion Sussex and South Africa runner-up the Diamond Eagles.

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