'It's rehab 24x7 for me' - Faulkner
As Michael Clarke enters the home stretch of his plan to return to Australia's World Cup XI against Bangladesh, the allrounder James Faulkner has conceded he is still on the back straight, unsure of when he might turn for the finish line
As Michael Clarke enters the home stretch of his plan to return to Australia's World Cup XI against Bangladesh, allrounder James Faulkner has conceded he is still on the back straight, unsure of when he might turn for the finish line.
"I'm no chance," Faulkner said in Brisbane when asked about his prospects of playing at the Gabba in five days' time. A side strain incurred during the triangular series means Faulkner is a long way from bowling, and Australia's abundance of options makes it unlikely he will be considered until he is able to.
"Everyone is a little bit unsure but hopefully the rehab I've done with the medical staff has kept me in good shape for what's to come," Faulkner said.
"I haven't been given any fitness deadline, I'm not sure what their plan is with that. I'll just do as I'm told with the medical staff and concentrate on that. It's rehab 24x7 for me and will continue to be until I'm back."
Pressure for spots in Australia's World Cup team is such that the stand-in captain George Bailey is set to make way for Clarke, while a first-ball duck for Shane Watson at the MCG on Saturday has plenty of critical eyes trained on his spot.
"I don't think we're actually fighting for the same sort of spot, we're different players," Faulkner said of Marsh. "Mitch has always been a batter and his overs have been handy. I know he's working hard on his bowling and he got some rewards the other day.
"I think we can both definitely play in the same team and we have a few games so far, so there's no reason we can't continue.
"The beauty about the Australian set-up is it's such a strong squad, it's going to be hard for spots. That's a great thing for Australian cricket and a great thing for the whole team, you've got to really be on your toes and when given a chance you've got to grab it with both hands."
Australia did not train on Monday and will take things easy again on Tuesday, before Clarke gives his repaired hamstring a run out at the Gabba on Wednesday.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig