Symonds throws up Cup selection query - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Symonds throws up Cup selection query

By Greg Buckle 22/03/2007 06:49:34 PM Comments (0)

Andrew Symonds hinted on Wednesday that while his bicep surgery is healing nicely, he may struggle to be 100 per cent fit for Saturday's crucial World Cup clash with South Africa.

Certainly that was the evidence of his performance during the Australian team's fielding session, when the athletic all-rounder did not undertake any long-distance, full-blooded throwing.

Captain Ricky Ponting, chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch and coach John Buchanan sat on the grass chewing over the Symonds selection debate at the Cayon training ground in St Kitts on Wednesday, three days ahead of the first real test for the world champions in their title defence in the Caribbean.

Symonds, who had his right bicep muscle reattached early last month, has been steadily building up his training in a bid to win his place back in the side for the Group A clash with world No.1-ranked South Africa.

It's the game the whole Australian squad has been looking forward to since arriving in the Caribbean at the start of the month, but Symonds in particular has been focusing on this clash for his comeback.

But the 31-year-old Queenslander admits he is no certainty to play.

"The shoulder's alright. The workload has gone up over the last five or six days and it seems to be handling it alright," Symonds told AAP.

"It's getting stronger and stronger every day. I'm not a million miles off getting out there hopefully, pulling the colours on and having a crack.

"I really have to go day by day and see what's required of me from the selectors' point of view and what the physio wants.

"It depends what they want me to be able to do at 100 per cent or whether 90 per cent (is acceptable).

"So I don't know exactly what will happen with the arm and the shoulder.

"(But) I'm really happy with where it's at. We (with team physio Alex Kountouris) are both quite surprised at how quickly it has got to this point.

"Hopefully we can just keep that progression going with the improvement and the healing of it and I anticipate in the not-too-distant future that I will be able to contribute in the way that I would like to."

Victorian batsman Brad Hodge, who made 123 at No.5 in Australia's big win over The Netherlands on Sunday, had been expected to make way for Symonds. But there is now fresh doubt over the Queenslander's fitness.

Symonds, named last month in Australia's all-time best one-day side, did slips catching alongside wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist and second-slipper Shane Watson and did not throw beyond 30 metres in earlier training drills.

"We haven't actually cleared him to play. We've still got a few more things we want to do before we reach that point," Kountouris said.

"It's just probably dependent on where he fields as well. They're the things I didn't discuss with the selectors, what the expectations are."

Kountouris says Symonds will continue to train with the team as well as completing extra throwing drills.

"I haven't been given a deadline but usually we decide the day before the game," Kountouris said.

But Kountouris also hinted Symonds may struggle to be fully fit for Saturday.

"I am just trying to get him right and obviously I want him to be 100 per cent," Kountouris said.

"But I'm realistic that he has had surgery not that long ago, so I am just trying to get him to the highest possible level I can and then let others make the decision of what he can and can't do and whether they want to play him or not."

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