Jason Arnberger, the Victoria opener, will have bone scans today in the hope he can recover from a long-standing but undiagnosed back injury that threatens his nine-year career with the state. The problem has prevented Arnberger from batting or running in the lead-up to the domestic season and the Bushrangers will play their first Pura Cup game of the campaign without him in Perth from Sunday.
Arnberger is now 34 and despite two strong seasons he realises his playing days with the Bushrangers could be over. "I guess it's a natural thing with someone my age - that if I do have a prolonged time out of the game that someone coming through will take my spot," Arnberger said in The Age. "That's just one of the things the game throws up at you at my age.
"I've just got to hope that when I'm fit and well, they want me in the side - even if it's batting down the order. If I've played my last game then I've had a great career and I've enjoyed every game that I've played for Victoria. If a young guy comes through, if he does take my spot, then hopefully he can have a long career as well."
Arnberger had similar feelings following a back injury two years ago. However, he returned to fitness, produced excellent back-to-back returns for the Bushrangers, with 639 runs in 2004-05 and 721 in 2005-06, and was one of the state's key players.
Lloyd Mash established himself as an opener last year and he is expected to be partnered by Michael Klinger during the Ford Ranger and Pura Cup games against Western Australia over the next week. The Warriors will be without Shane Harwood for Friday's one-day contest after he strained his right side bowling last week.
"He's got a very aggressive action and I just think he's given it a little twinge," Greg Shipperd, the coach, told the paper. "He's an important player for us and we think he's got some international opportunities if he starts the season well. It couldn't have come at a worse time for him."
To see The Age's view on Victoria's season go here.
Victoria squad Cameron White (capt), Adam Crosthwaite (wk), Gerard Denton, Brad Hodge, David Hussey, Nick Jewell, Michael Klinger, Mick Lewis, Grant Lindsay, Andrew McDonald, Lloyd Mash, Jonathan Moss, Robert Quiney, Shane Warne.