Sydney: Australia"s preparations for the Ashes have received a big boost with strike bowler Brett Lee on course to make an early comeback in the one-day series against Pakistan.
According to Fox Sports, the 32-year-old Lee, who has been sidelined with stress fractures in his foot, was initially expected to return for the World Twenty20, to be held in England in June.
But Lee's rehabilitation is ahead of schedule, with the quick planning to run in the next fortnight - and to be bowling by mid-March - after having a surgical boot removed last week.
Should Lee not be available for the Pakistan series, starting late April, he will be encouraged by Cricket Australia to roll his arm over in the latter stages of the Indian Premier League.
"The good news is the healing is two weeks ahead of schedule. There's no need to rush Brett, but it looks like he will be available for selection for the Pakistan one-dayers, that''s the target," Lee''s agent Neil Maxwell said.
CA physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said Lee could benefit with a stint in the IPL, which concludes two weeks after Australia''s five-match series against Pakistan.
"He's going really well. I saw him last week and he''s making good progress. At the moment, he's doing a lot of strength work and he will be cleared to start running in a couple of weeks," he added.