Brett Lee ruled out of India series
Brett Lee, the Australian fast bowler, has been ruled out of the remainder of the ODI series in India because of an elbow injury and will fly back home. He is in doubt for the home Test series against West Indies as well.
Lee was unable to complete his quota of overs in the first ODI in Vadodara, having bowled just six, and the elbow problem kept him out of the second match in Nagpur. The injury is the latest setback for Lee who also missed the Ashes in England due to fitness problems.
"Brett's elbow injury has not responded as well to treatment as we would have liked and therefore a decision has been made to send him home to consult with an elbow specialist," Cricket Australia physiotherapist Kevin Sims said. "With an accurate diagnosis we can determine how best to manage the injury and give Brett the best chance of being available for selection at the beginning of the Australian summer."
Ricky Ponting, the Australia captain, and coach Tim Nielsen had voiced their unhappiness about scheduling the Champions League so close to the ODI series. Nielsen called Lee's injury a "stress-related" one, and Ponting rued the absence of six of his players while preparing for the seven-ODI series. Lee, however, said that his injury was not because of his participation in New South Wales' campaign in the Champions League.
Australia will also be without allrounder James Hopes, who has a hamstring strain, in the third ODI in Delhi. "Both the guys [Lee and Hopes] are not playing tomorrow. Lee had a light training today and he looks 85% fine but there is still some pain in his elbow," Ponting said. "Hopes got through his bowling today but we have our fingers crossed. We hope he will be okay for Mohali after sitting out tomorrow."
There was some good news for the visitors, though, as wicketkeeper Graham Manou was expected to reach Delhi in time for the game as a replacement for Tim Paine, who broke his finger during the second ODI in Nagpur. "Graham [Manou] will arrive this afternoon. He has some international experience having played a few Test matches and also in Ashes," Ponting said.
While Australia have a replacement opener in Shaun Marsh to fill in for Paine, the absence of Lee is a major blow to a bowling attack that has struggled to contain the Indian batsman, especially during the final overs. In the first ODI in Vadodara, Harbhajan Singh and Praveen Kumar added 84 runs in 9.3 overs for the eighth wicket and, in Nagpur, India plundered 108 off the last ten overs to post 354, the highest total by any team batting first against Australia in an ODI.
Left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Johnson, who was also in doubt for the Nagpur ODI with an ankle strain, will play despite discomfort to bolster the attack in the remaining ODIs.