Injured Bollinger faces tight race for Ashes
Doug Bollinger will have only one match to prove his fitness ahead of the first Ashes Test after Cricket Australia confirmed he won't start bowling again until next week. Bollinger suffered a stomach muscle strain during the first Test in India, following a controversial preparation that involved him playing Twenty20 instead of first-class cricket.
He arrived in India two days before the first Test, having been told by Cricket Australia to stay in South Africa until his Champions League Twenty20 campaign ended. The team physio Alex Kountouris said Bollinger was now expected to make his comeback in a Sheffield Shield game for New South Wales starting only eight days before the Ashes begins.
"On returning to Australia, he had scans that have cleared him of any significant muscle injury," Kountouris said. "As such he will commence bowling next week and is likely to be available for selection for the Weet-Bix Sheffield Shield game for New South Wales against Tasmania starting November 17."
The Blues have a Sheffield Shield match starting this Sunday and another beginning on November 10, but Bollinger is not expected to be rushed back for either of those games. However, Simon Katich, who has been recovering from a thumb injury, should be available for the second of those fixtures, which will give him two matches before the Gabba Tests.
"Simon Katich injured a thumb ligament prior to the first Test in India," Kountouris said. "Since returning home, he has seen a specialist who advised him take a short break from batting and then return to training. As such, he has not batted since returning from India but will do so next week."
The fast bowler Ryan Harris could also be in the mix for the Brisbane Test, having made what Kountouris called "good progress" from the knee surgery he had in July. Harris had been hoping to make his comeback for Queensland at the start of the summer, but is now expected to play a Futures League game next week and, provided he suffers no setbacks, he should play one or two Sheffield Shield matches before the Ashes.