Sydney: Team medical staff is unlikely to risk injured Australian fast bowler Brett Lee in the fourth cricket Test against the West Indies starting in Melbourne on Boxing Day. Lee will fly to Melbourne on Saturday to join the rest of the Australian squad knowing he is at long odds to play.The world's fastest bowler is keen to play but will be guided by a series of tests on his injured back under team doctor Trefor James and physiotherapist Errol Alcott. If he shows any signs of discomfort, he will immediately be withdrawn from the Australian squad. Lee's fitness tests will not involve bowling, with medical staff putting him through a range of movements to see whether he feels pressure on the spine or joints."I don't think he's at great odds of starting," Alcott said on Friday. "If we assess him and he's not quite right and he needs a bit more time we won't be risking him."If that is the case, officials would seem unlikely to risk him in the fifth Test of the series in Sydney, which starts only three days after the Melbourne Test. Officials would be reluctant to take any chances with the fast bowling sensation, who has a history of back problems.Lee has been left to his own devices since Australian medical staff discovered a stress reaction in the L3 vertebra in his lower back after the second Test in Perth. The Australian tour of India in February-March is likely to take precedence over what amounts to little more than two dead Tests against the West Indies and the chance to extend the team's record winning streak.Captain Steve Waugh is almost certain to play after overcoming his buttock injury. Waugh will also have a series of fitness tests leading into the Test, with officials keen to give him enough time to take his place in the side.
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Copyright AFP 2000