Australia v England, Carlton Mid Tri-Series final, Perth February 1, 2015

Faulkner's World Cup in doubt

Glenn Maxwell - "I think the thought for any of us being ruled out so late with an injury, I think even if it's nothing, just the thought of that would hurt a lot of people" © Getty Images

James Faulkner scored a 24-ball fifty in the final that buried England, and took a wicket first ball to provide a nice little icing, but he walked off midway in his third over with what seemed like a side strain. The exact nature and extent of the injury is not known yet, but the Australian camp did not sound too optimistic about his World Cup chances. At the post-match presentation George Bailey joked that Faulkner can be dramatic at times, but Man-of-the-Match Glenn Maxwell was left hoping against all signs.

"I think he's pretty down at the moment," Maxwell said. "I think with obviously such an amazing thing just coming up for us, the home World Cup, and I think the thought for any of us being ruled out so late with an injury, I think even if it's nothing, just the thought of that would hurt a lot of people. I know a few of us were out there hurting for him."

If Faulkner is indeed ruled out, it will be a big blow for Australia because he has been a tremendous finisher with the bat and a handy bowler with a variety of slower balls in his left-arm repertoire. Australia have three other allrounders in Maxwell himself, Mitchell Marsh and Shane Watson, but none of them close off games with the calm that Faulkner exudes. The injury to Faulkner should be a bigger concern than the one to Michael Clarke is. Maxwell spoke of Faulkner's importance to the team.

"He's a super cricketer and he's a vital cog in this Australian outfit," Maxwell said. "We can just hope it's nothing and he is being soft and he gets back and trains hard with us next week. We're all feeling for him ,and hope he recovers pretty quickly and he can get back out there with us because you saw today how good he is. I think he's the best finisher in the game comfortably, and the way he just assesses the situation and gives himself that little bit of time and just dominates bowling at the death.

"And even with the ball that surprise package, getting that wicket, surprising Joe Root who didn't look like making many mistakes out there. He's a vital part of our one-day side and hopefully he's playing with us this World Cup."

If Faulkner is ruled out, Moises Henriques and Shaun Marsh are front runners to replace him.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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