|Event:||ICC World Cup 2006/07|
DateLine: 1st March 2007
Injured all-rounder Andrew Symonds has boosted Australia's World Cup cricket hopes by saying he could be available before the pool match against South Africa, reports said Thursday.
March 24, when Australia will play the new world number one team, was initially considered an optimistic return date for Symonds after he ruptured his biceps tendon in a one-day match against England last month.
But an assessment by a specialist last Friday has given Symonds hope that he could ease his way back into the side for a match against the Netherlands on March 18.
"I've been trying to get a bit of strength and bulk back into the muscle and I'm ahead of schedule," Symonds told The Sydney Morning Herald Thursday.
"I'm allowed to have a bat at the end of this week. I'm allowed to hit some tennis balls.
"I'm not lifting weights, but it nearly feels normal. I'm really happy with how it feels and every day I can feel it improving a bit.
"I reckon, hopefully, I'll take part against South Africa. If not then a bit before that. But we just have to wait and see how it progresses."
Symonds said he was aware a premature return could permanently weaken his shoulder.
"If it goes again, that will mean I can't throw like I used to," he said. "That's what we're trying to steer clear of, because hopefully I'll be playing a bit longer next season."
Captain Ricky Ponting said he was prepared to step in and stop Symonds risking further injury by playing prematurely at the World Cup.
Ponting is buoyed by Symonds' progress, but remains wary of risking long-term damage by snatching at a short-term jackpot.
"The only thing that is going to be hard is restraining him a little bit and making sure he doesn't get too far ahead of himself and do too much too early," Ponting told The Daily Telegraph before Wednesday's team departure for the Caribbean.
(Article: Copyright © 2007 AFP)