Australia news January 26, 2014

Australia fret over Bird back injury

Jackson Bird will enter the South Africa tour under something of a fitness cloud after he was pulled out of a warm-up appearance due to a back complaint, with James Pattinson now taking up his spot in the Western Australia second XI team for the first two days of the fixture against the Queensland Academy in Brisbane.

In an alarming development for Australia's tour plans, Bird jarred his back while fielding in his most recent Big Bash League appearance for the Melbourne Stars against Hobart Hurricanes on Tuesday, and has been undergoing treatment since.

It has now been decided that Bird should not bowl in the Futures League match on Monday, opening the way for Pattinson to play on the first two days after he was not selected for the fifth and final ODI against England at Adelaide Oval on Australia Day.

"Jackson Bird jarred his back whilst diving in the field for the Melbourne Stars on Tuesday night which has resulted in some back soreness," the Australian team physio Alex Kountouris said. "As such, he has been withdrawn from the second XI fixture whilst he receives treatment ahead of his departure for South Africa."

Bird has spent most of this summer recovering from a back injury he sustained in the fourth Ashes Test in Durham during the England tour, his only appearance in the back-to-back series. His action was remodeled under the guidance of the Test bowling coach Craig McDermott, before he put in a string of encouraging displays in the BBL.

The majority of the Australian Test squad departs for South Africa on Wednesday.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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