Brisbane: All-rounder James Faulkner said Monday he was "no chance" of returning from injury for Australia's second World Cup game against Bangladesh this weekend.
Faulkner has missed the last two weeks with a side strain and despite looking free and unencumbered while batting in the nets, he was unable to resume bowling or fielding at training. "I'm no chance for Bangladesh, I can tell you that," Faulkner told reporters in Brisbane ahead of Saturday's match at the Gabba. "We're not too sure (when). Time's sort of flown a bit, but hopefully I'm back sooner rather than later.
Every time I have a hit it's feeling better and better. "The last net session I pretty much felt good to go. Hopefully that stays the case." Faulkner's fitness status eases the pressure on out-of-form fellow allrounder Shane Watson, who appears to be the most likely man to make way when the Tasmanian returns after Watson's first-ball duck in Australia's big opening win over England.
Faulkner, rated one of the best ODI innings 'finishers', said he was prepared to return as a specialist batsman initially if his side strain prevented him from bowling his medium-pacers. "If the selectors want me to do that I'll grab that with both hands," he said. "Whenever I'm fit and given an opportunity to press my claim for selection I'll be doing all I can.
"At the moment that's not the case -- I'm not fit, so I need to make sure I can get myself back on the track." Faulkner said that all the squad's three all-rounders, Mitchell Marsh, Watson and himself could play in the same team. "We've done that -- all three of us have played (together)," Faulkner said. "The beauty about the Australian set-up at the moment is it's such a strong squad.
"It's going to be hard for spots, and that's a great thing for Australian cricket and for the whole team. "I don't think (Mitch and I are) actually fighting for the same sort of spot -- we're different players. "Mitch has always been a batter, his overs have been handy. I know he's working really hard on his bowling and he got some rewards the other day (five for 33). "I think we can both definitely play in the same team, and we have in a fair few games so far, so there's no reason why that can't continue."