Ricky Ponting knows it's a big ask but he hopes Brett Lee and Shaun Tait will be part of his World Cup attack in February. Lee, who has not played for Australia in more than a year, is back in New South Wales' side following elbow surgery, while Tait was forced to have an operation on his arm following the Champions League Twenty20.
Both players are now one-day specialists and Ponting would love them to be at the World Cup. "Brett, Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson together could be key bowlers in those subcontinental conditions," he told the Australian. "It would be pretty exciting as a captain to have them to call on. Hopefully, Tait and Lee can both be right."
Lee, who has 324 victims in 186 ODIs, took two wickets in his first match back with the Blues on Sunday and is aiming for an international recall for the series against Sri Lanka starting on October 31. "Let's hope he is ready to go," Ponting said. "He could be a big player for us in the World Cup provided his body holds up between now and then."
Doug Bollinger (stomach), Ryan Harris (knee), Peter Siddle (back), James Pattinson (back) and Josh Hazlewood (back) are all in various stages of recovery, adding to the fast-bowling issues facing the selectors. The last time Lee was with the national side was in the West Indies before the World Twenty20, but he returned home early. Ponting is not concerned by Lee's long absence.
"Brett has always looked after his body well," he said. "I know he will be fit and strong. He was last time he came back after a layoff, but unfortunately another part of his body gave way. Still, it will be a big effort."