Australian captain Ricky Ponting will miss the rest of the Twenty20 world championships due to injury and is doubtful for the upcoming tour of India, team officials said.
Ponting suffered a hamstring strain while batting during Australia's six-wicket loss to Pakistan at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Tuesday night.
Ponting's injury, which did not allow him to field against Pakistan, comes ahead of Australia's must-win clash against Sri Lanka in Cape Town on Thursday.
The winner will qualify for the semi-finals along with Pakistan from group F, while the loser will crash out of the tournament.
Team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said Ponting's injury could keep him out of the game for four weeks, making him an unlikely starter for the seven-match one-day series in India starting on September 29.
"Over the next three to five days we will have a much better indication of where it's heading, so we will know whether he will have to go home or be able to go to India," Kountouris told reporters.
"Hopefully, he will take some part in the series in India. The best case scenario is a couple of weeks. The worst case scenario is four weeks."
Kountouris said Ponting strained his hamstring while running between the wickets against Pakistan.
"He just took off for a run and felt it a bit," the physiotherapist said.
"He was stretching his left leg because he was not sure if there was a problem. I don't think he has had a hamstring strain before.
"He wasn't really sure what it feels like."
Ponting, who won the ICC's player of the year award for the second successive year, arrived in South Africa just two days before the tournament began on September 11 following his wife's illness.
But Kountouris said the late arrival or the return to action after a four-month break had caused the injury.
"It can happen anytime," he said. "We get them anytime in a season.
"He's been here for a week now so really I could not say with confidence that it had anything to do with it. It's just coincidence."
Ponting is expected to be replaced for the crucial Sri Lanka game by all-rounder Shane Watson, who himself has just recovered from a hamstring injury.