Cardiff (Wales), July 7 (ANI): Australian fast bowler Brett Lee, who claimed seven wickets with his reverse swing in a tour game against the England Lions last week, is "gutted" that he will miss the first fortnight of the Ashes after straining an abdominal muscle.
Lee has been ruled out of the first Test, starting in Cardiff on Wednesday, and would need a miraculous recovery to be ready for the second at Lord's.
"It's not as bad as it could have been - it could have been a 10-week injury if he had hurt the muscle further," said Australian team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris after scans revealed a small strain of an internal oblique muscle.
"He's not yet out of Lord's, but the chances are slim," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Kountouris, as saying.
Lee felt soreness during the first innings of the warm-up match against England Lions in Worcester, where he sped back into Test contention with an almost unplayable burst of fast reverse swing and claimed seven wickets for the match.
"I was going pretty much as hard as I possibly could. I suppose I had to prove to myself that I can do it again. I never doubted in my own mind but it was more me going out there and showing that I can get close to the 100 mile an hour mark again and take wickets, which I've done," Lee said.
"I'm proud about that and obviously I have sustained a small muscle tear which has ruled me out of the first Test match. Yes, I'm disappointed, but it's not the end of the world, I will be training hard and looking forward to if the second is out of the option, maybe the third. I'm gutted that I won't be there for that first Test match. But I'll find a way to bounce back. I've gotten back from five ankle surgeries so I'm sure one little muscle strain won't keep me out for too long."
Kountouris estimated a two-week stint on the sidelines for Lee, which effectively rules him out of the first set of back-to-back Tests. He will aim to be fit for the Edgbaston fixture, starting on July 30. (ANI)