Warne may get until mid-WC to recover: Buchanan
Published: Tuesday, December 31, 2002, 19:59 [IST]
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Sydney: Champion leg spinner Shane Warne is so important to Australia's World Cup cricket defence that he may be given until mid-tournament to recover from his dislocated shoulder, coach John Buchanan said on Tuesday. Buchanan revealed Warne - man-of-the-match in Australia's Cup final victory over Pakistan at Lord's in 1999 - could be given until the Super Sixes stage to make his first appearance in southern Africa. Should Australia progress through the preliminary rounds in February before the Super Sixes begin on March 7, Warne's rehabilitation from a dislocated shoulder should be well and truly over. "We're certainly looking at making a decision (on Warne's fitness) as early as feasible - but giving him as much time as possible," Buchanan said on Tuesday. "He's one of the bowlers we will always go to bowl us ten overs in a One-day game. We're going to try to make sure he gets every opportunity to be on that plane across to South Africa." Asked if Warne could be given until the Super Sixes, Buchanan said, "That's certainly one of the considerations. "If he wasn't available from the outset, we would like to think he was playing at least by mid-tournament, that's my view. In a general sense, that's probably a cut- off." The obvious problem for Warne is waiting too long and being too rusty by the time he gets on the field. "He'd certainly be wanting to be as confident as he can going into some of the tougher games," Buchanan said. "That confidence is not just in bowling, but also getting around the field." Warne expects to be told on January 11 or 12 when he can start bowling again. "He seems pretty upbeat about it all and likes his chances of playing in the World Cup, so that's great," One-day skipper Ricky Ponting said. "Obviously Australia needs Shane Warne to be playing and playing well in the World Cup. Everyone's just got their fingers crossed and hopes that he comes up." Australia will be joined in Pool 'A' by Pakistan, India, the Netherlands, Zimbabwe, Namibia and England, with the first three sides progressing.