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Marsh's hamstring on track for T20 World Cup but admits he can't afford a setback

Marsh confirms he is not ready to play yet but should be right for Australia's World Cup opener "barring any setbacks"

Alex Malcolm
Alex Malcolm
Australia's new T20I captain Mitchell Marsh has confirmed his recovery from a hamstring "is on track" despite initially taking longer than expected, although he admits he can't afford a setback in the build-up in Australia's first World Cup match against Oman on June 6 in Barbados.
Marsh has not played since his last appearance for Delhi Capitals in the IPL on April 3 due to a right hamstring strain. He was flown home from the IPL to Perth on April 12 to do his initial recovery with Australia team physiotherapist Nick Jones, who is also based in Perth.
Two weeks later, Capitals confirmed he would miss the remainder of the IPL after Marsh's initial recovery from the injury had taken longer than anticipated.
Speaking in Perth on Thursday after being confirmed as Australia's captain for the World Cup, Marsh said he was still working back to full fitness but was confident he would be right for the World Cup.
"The hammy is good, it's coming along really well," Marsh said. "It's pretty much exactly where we want it to be. It's one of those things. Just got to get it right over the next three weeks and get on the plane.
"If we had to play tomorrow, I would be in a bit of trouble. Still a couple of weeks away, and the timing probably sits perfectly barring any setbacks."
Marsh's hamstring concern is part of the reason why Cameron Green has been included in the 15-man squad ahead of the in-form Jake Fraser-McGurk. If Marsh needs to play as a batter only or needs to be managed early in the tournament and anything were to happen to the other injury-prone pace-bowling allrounder in Marcus Stoinis, Australia would not have had a pace-bowling option to bat in their top seven.
"Anytime there's a World Cup team picked, there's only 15 and some guys have to miss out," Marsh said. "But I think we've got a really great squad that we've picked, we've got a lot of versatility, a lot of experience. And that brings a lot of excitement."
Australia are holding two separate training camps in Brisbane across each of the next two weeks for the players who aren't playing in the IPL. Josh Hazlewood, Adam Zampa, Ashton Agar, Josh Inglis and Marsh will head there to get some nets and fitness preparation done before heading to the Caribbean. Marsh is a chance to be at both camps but would likely be on light duties for the first one. Others who missed out on the squad but could still be taken as a travelling reserve, including Xavier Bartlett, are also likely to be involved. Bartlett is set to head to England for the T20 Blast at the end of May.
Australia's other major fitness concern heading to the World Cup is David Warner, who is still recovering from some deep bone bruising in his finger after copping a blow on the hand while batting against Lucknow Super Giants on April 12. He missed a game and then returned to play against Sunrisers Hyderabad but was still experiencing soreness and hasn't played since. It is understood he could return to batting later this week but Australia's chairman of selectors George Bailey was unsure when he would be pain-free again.
"It's still causing him a fair bit of discomfort," Bailey said on Wednesday. "So obviously we'll monitor that. Hopefully, he can get back and play a couple more games in the IPL to finish off, but I think it's just one of those ones, just some deep-seated bone bruising and is going to take a little bit of time.
"But I don't think anyone's going to be able to give him a really definitive answer on how long that'll be."
Marsh has backed Warner to be a vital cog in Australia's campaign in what will be his swansong from international cricket after retiring from Test and ODI cricket earlier this year.
"It's been a long last hurrah, hasn't it for Davey?" Marsh said. "We're always really excited to have him in the team. Just the experience that he brings. I think if we look back at his career. There's been so many big moments that you need your big experienced players to stand up and Davey has always been one of those. So we're lucky to have him."

Alex Malcolm is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo