Ricky Ponting has conceded Australia's injury troubles and less-than-ideal training facilities have provided a mixed start to their World Cup campaign. The defending champions will have only 12 players to choose from for their first warm-up match, against Zimbabwe on Tuesday.
The teams are allowed to use 13 men for the practice games but of Australia's 15, Andrew Symonds has an arm injury, Matthew Hayden has a broken toe and Adam Gilchrist has not yet joined the squad after the birth of his third child. Ponting said his side's fitness and form - they lost the No. 1 ODI ranking to South Africa in February - were far from ideal.
"Look, there are some concerns there, no doubt about that, " Ponting told AAP. "I don't think any more than normal. It's about all of us just looking at our own games and finding little areas that we think we can improve. If we play our best cricket, we are going to be very hard to beat."
Ponting said John Buchanan had just inspected the facilities in St Vincent, where Australia are based, and had raised some issues. "I'm not sure if we're going to get too much good practice in over the next couple of days," Ponting said.
"If we don't, it's not a great concern. We just have to get out there and make the most of what we have got. We have been here to the Caribbean before and places [where] you don't always get the practice facilities you want."
Australia are still discussing the make-up of their frontline bowling attack for the tournament and a four-man pace battery remains a possibility. Australia tested that tactic at the Champions Trophy in India and won the competition. However, their fast bowlers tailed off at the end of the CB Series and in the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy, raising questions over Australia's ability to defend big totals.
"I'm not that concerned," Ponting said. "It was only a few weeks ago that this exact same bowling attack was bowling teams out for a hundred. We're just going to have to pick the team that we think is going to be best suited to the conditions here. We've got re-laid wickets and early-morning starts here so you've got to take all that into account."
Buchanan said in the Sunday Herald Sun he had asked the advice of Andy Atkinson, the ICC's pitch consultant, who had overseen the preparation of the grounds. "His opinion is basically the wickets will start pretty true, even pace, even bounce pretty well throughout," Buchanan said. "There may be some change in the wickets as the tournament goes along."