Lee and Watson heading home
Australia will be without Brett Lee and Shane Watson for the final NatWest Series one-day international against England after it was confirmed the duo will return home for further medical assessment on their respective calf injuries.
Veteran paceman Lee and all-rounder Watson each limped out of Saturday’s fourth ODI at the Emirates Durham ICG, where England triumphed by eight wickets to secure an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.
It remains to be seen whether either will be fit to take part in Australia’s next assignment, a limited-overs tour of the United Arab Emirates in which Pakistan will provide the opposition in three ODIs and three Twenty20 internationals.
Australia team doctor John Orchard said: “Shane Watson and Brett Lee have calf strains - Shane to the left and Brett to the right calf - sustained during the fourth ODI against England at Durham. This is the opposite calf to the injury Shane had last summer.
“Because both players will miss the final game, they are flying back to Sydney for MRI scans and further treatment. At this stage, they are anticipated to be available for consideration for selection for the ICC World Twenty20, with scan results and response to treatment to determine whether they will be available for consideration for selection for the coming series against Pakistan in the UAE.”
Australia had already taken the precaution of calling up Mitchell Starc as seam bowling cover for tomorrow's tour-ending fixture at Old Trafford.
Another left-armer, Mitchell Johnson, could play just his second match of the series for the tourists.
Johnson had a tough time in Australia’s defeat at the Kia Oval before struggling with a foot injury that ruled him out of England’s series-clincher two days ago.
“I’m fit and ready to go. But the team hasn’t been announced or talked about yet,” he said. “I’m over my little foot injury.”
As for Watson’s and Lee’s departures, Johnson added: “It’s a pretty big blow, obviously with the experience of those two guys.
“But it’s something we can work with as well. We’ve got a very talented squad over here, so we can definitely go into this game with that.
“Like (coach) Mickey (Arthur) said the other day, we just need to have that fire in our belly and show that confidence and belief and go out there and do a good job.
“We’ve got one more chance here to show England and ourselves that we’re good enough. I believe we are.”