Fitness worries for Aussies
Spin duo Hauritz and Smith making good progress after surgery
Last Updated: 26/05/11 9:17am
Hauritz: missed the World Cup earlier this year with a serious shoulder injury
Australia remain confident that their lengthy list of injured players will all be fit in time for the tour of Sri Lanka.
Michael Clarke's side will play three Tests, five one-day internationals and two Twenty20 matches during the trip in August and September.
However team physio Alex Kountouris will be a busy man before then as several possible members of the squad, including former captain Ricky Ponting, are currently on the comeback trail.
Ponting underwent an operation to remove screws placed in the finger he injured during the Ashes series defeat to England, though it is not expected to hamper his preparations.
The fitness of spin duo Nathan Hauritz and Steve Smith is perhaps more of a concern, even if both are making good progress following surgery.
Off-spinner Hauritz missed this year's World Cup with a serious shoulder injury suffered in the one-day series against England, while leg-spinning all-rounder Smith has had an operation on his left ankle to remove a bone spur.
"His (Hauritz's) rehabilitation is progressing as expected and he will hopefully resume bowling over the next month," Kountouris said.
"His availability for the Sri Lankan tour will be based on how he further progresses over the next month."
Australia also have worries over their top two names behind the stumps; first-choice wicketkeeper Brad Haddin and his back-up Tim Paine are coming back from fractured fingers. Kountouris, however, is confident over the pair.
"Brad Haddin is making very good recovery from a small fracture to the middle finger of his left hand," he said.
"He has returned to his fitness training and will commence batting and wicketkeeping next month as part of his preparation for the Sri Lankan tour."
Kountouris confirmed that Paine had undergone surgery to remove a plate and screws inserted following a finger break in November. He is expected to be ready in time to lead Australia A on a tour of Zimbabwe in June.
Meanwhile, all-rounder John Hastings will resume bowling and throwing
in June - he injured his right shoulder whilst playing in the Indian Premier League.
Pace bowler Clint McKay is also progressing well after he had to go under the knife to repair a stress fracture in his left foot, though no timescale has been put on his return just yet.