Sydney, Apr 14 (ANI): Veteran fast bowler Brett Lee's return to the Australian T20 squad has become increasingly difficult with the pacer struggling to be fit because of a broken right thumb.
Lee fractured the thumb on Friday playing for the Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League.
The injury could keep Lee sidelined for up to three weeks and this would take him to the start of the ICC World Twenty20, and he is only four games into his comeback from elbow surgery, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
But Australian coach Tim Nielsen is hopeful Lee will be able to make his international return in the Caribbean.
"All we can do is wait and see how it reacts over the next four or five days before we have our camp and head off to the West Indies.
"Hopefully it will heal, and the scans and things he's having at the moment will show exactly the nature of the damage and what the likelihood of him playing is," Nielsen said.
"We don't feel at the moment there is any real need for him to come home (from India). Ideally, he would be able to get one of the last two games that Punjab are playing in under his belt before we go to the West Indies and if that doesn't happen we'll assess from there," Nielsen said.
Lee is in the care of Punjab and former NSW physiotherapist Pat Farhart, and is in regular contact with Cricket Australia medical staff.
The latest setback follows a big show of faith from the national selectors, who last week renewed his contract.
If CA is forced to get a Twenty20 replacement, the in-form swing bowler Ryan Harris would be the natural choice.
Nielsen said: "It's been tough for him [Lee]. I was pleased they selected him and showed the support that he was looking for and we were hoping for, and we've just got to hope now that this knock on his thumb clears itself up and we can go from there." (ANI)