Australia's squad for the first Ashes 2010 match against England would have been secured if not for a couple of niggling injuries that threaten to crop up. Paceman Doug Bollinger who had to return home from the recent tour of India thanks to a stomach strain picked up during the first test at Mohali, will have to prove his fitness again. He will have to put selectors at ease over misgivings of his recovery when he plays in New South Whale's Sheffield Shield match against Tasmania next week.
As long as Bollinger remains healthy through the Sheffield Shield match next week, he will be in Brisbane. "We're expecting him (Bollinger) to be fit for the first Test," said Australian selection committee chief Andrew Hilditch. "He'll have to get through the Shield game to be considered for the final line-up. We think that will be enough. We're being pretty conservative with Doug, he's an important player for us, so we're giving him maximum time to recover."
The 29-year-old Bollinger has played 11 tests so far, picking up 49 wickets at a staggering average of 23.79. He will undoubtedly be a valuable asset for Australia if they are to take the challenge to the strong English side in the Ashes opener.
Katich too has been picked in the squad on faith, considering that he is recovering from a thumb injury which he contracted in India. Showing incredible resilience, Katich played through both tests with the fracture and ligament damage. The doctors had initially projected a six-week recovery period for Katich, but he has not passed up the opportunity of the first-class tournament to demonstrate his current fitness.
Time is a concern for him and he is hoping to join Bollinger at New South Wales next week. Hilditch doesn't think Katich's injury will be a concern. "Again, we're taking a pretty conservative approach," he said. The cautious method has been a regular criticism of Hilditch's panel.
Katich has proved a remarkably stable opening partner to Shane Watson, notching up 10 centuries in his 54 test outings and an average of just under 46. Any exacerbation of his injury would further hamper the Aussie batting line-up which is already struggling. The Ashes begins at the Gabba on November 25 and Australia's selectors will have to look at a larger squad to cover all options. Australia A play England in Hobart next week, with that fixture starting after the Test unit has been selected.