Australia skipper Ricky Ponting should be available for the upcoming Twenty20 world championship despite failing to travel with the rest of the squad, his stand-in Adam Gilchrist said on Monday.
"We are waiting to see with Ricky. Hopefully he will join us soon," Gilchrist told reporters in Johannesburg, a week before the start of the inaugural championships.
"We will be in touch with him ... I am pretty sure he will be here at some stage."
The temporary absence of Ponting, attributed to family reasons, has added to build-up complications for the ODI World Cup holders who are strong favourites to add the Twenty20 trophy to their list of honours.
Fast bowler Stuart Clark also did not travel with the team over a family health problem while injury-prone allrounder Shane Watson continues to be plagued by fitness doubts.
"Stuey looks like joining us in the next do or so," said Ponting. "With Watto, we will see. Hopefully he can join us pretty soon."
Despite the troubled build-up, wicketkeeper Gilchrist said Australia still had a squad that could adapt to any circumstances and he pinpointed the explosive hitting of Andrew Symonds as a key weapon in their arsenal.
"He is going to play a huge part. He will be a stand-out star in this tournament. He can bat, bowl and field. He is a trump (card) for us."
Australia begin the match against struggling Zimbabwe in Cape Town on September 12 before taking on England at the same venue two days later.
Gilchrist played down suggestions that the Australians were the favourites in a version of the game that is still in its infancy.
"It's hard to tell who's favourite in this format. Everyone's on a pretty even playing field," he said.
It will be the first international cricket for the Australians since they lifted the ODI World Cup in April in the Caribbean but Gilchrist denied that the team was in danger of being undercooked.
"I do not see rustiness or not playing for a while as any drama," he added.