Australia news September 25, 2009

Ponting concerned over Bracken's future

Cricinfo staff

Ricky Ponting, the Australian captain, has expressed concern over Nathan Bracken's international future after the fast bowler returned home from because of a chronic knee problem.

"You'd have to be [concerned] I guess," Ponting said. "None of us know the extent of it just yet, we won't know until he ... has it looked at properly and maybe has surgery. He's no spring chicken, he's had it operated on before and I believe it's a degenerative type of condition."

Bracken had problems with his knee for a couple of years but the injury flared up in South Africa, forcing him to miss the ICC Champions Trophy. He flew to Australia on Thursday where he will see a specialist.

Australia also had an injury concern over Michael Clarke, the vice-captain, who suffered from a sore back after the flight from England to South Africa. Australia are pooled in Group A with West Indies, India and Pakistan and will begin their Champions Trophy title defence against West Indies on Saturday.

One senior player recently returned from injury is Brett Lee. He was in good form in the 6-1 series win over England after missing the Tests, but Ponting said he would require careful management if he was still playing in 17 months.

Although satisfied with the pace reserves, Ponting said Australia could not afford to carry quicks in their twilight years. "Brett by that stage will be 34 (and Bracken 33), and you can have one of those guys as long as you don't have two or three," he said.

"With (Peter) Siddle and (Mitchell) Johnson and (Ben) Hilfenhaus, they're the younger brigade that has led the attack really well over the last few months, so I think we're in pretty good shape.

"With Brett, if he actually makes it through we've got to make sure we look after him well because we've seen in England he can be a leading wicket-taker for us, especially in the conditions that we'll have in the next World Cup with his reverse swing bowling."