Brett Lee has been ruled out of the Commonwealth Bank Series after suffering a broken foot during Australia's Twenty20 loss at the MCG on Friday. Lee is expected to be out of action for four to six weeks, meaning there could also be doubt over his availability for the limited-overs portion of the tour of the West Indies, which starts in mid-March.
"Brett Lee sustained a fracture of his right foot when he was struck by a ball in the last over of his spell during the KFC T20 against India at the MCG on Friday night," Cricket Australia team doctor Trefor James said. "He was able to complete the over however the foot became more painful and swollen the following day. An x-ray has confirmed a fracture of the small toe and we now expect Brett will return to cricket in four to six weeks."
Australia will not name a replacement player for the initial matches of the tri-series until after the opening match against India in Melbourne on Sunday. That means Australia's likely attack for the opening game will be Ryan Harris, Mitchell Starc, Clint McKay, Xavier Doherty and the allrounder Daniel Christian, with Mitchell Marsh unavailable for the first two games so he can play in a Sheffield Shield match.
Candidates to replace Lee will include Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus, although the selectors might wish to give them some extra rest time after their workload during the recent Test series. Other options could include Tasmania's James Faulkner, who made his T20 international debut on Wednesday, Western Australia's Nathan Coulter-Nile and Queensland's Alister McDermott, who is on top of the Ryobi Cup wicket tally this season.
Lee, 35, has taken 357 wickets for Australia in one-day internationals and last played in the format on the tour of Sri Lanka in August. He was keen to remain part of the 50-over squad as he aimed for 400 ODI wickets, and the national selector John Inverarity said last week when he announced the squad that the younger members of the attack would benefit from working alongside Lee.