Lee out of Pakistan series

Paceman Brett Lee has been ruled out of Australia's limited-overs series against Pakistan and replaced by Doug Bollinger.

updated: April 16, 2009 16:53 IST
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Paceman Brett Lee has been ruled out of Australia's limited-overs series against Pakistan and replaced by Doug Bollinger.

Lee, who will continue to train in South Africa with his Indian Premier League franchise to further his rehabilitation from ankle and foot operations, was included in the 14-man Australian squad last week subject to fitness.

Selectors decided on Wednesday he would not be capable of bowling full pace in the matches at Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

"The National Selection Panel has been advised by Cricket Australia medical staff that Brett Lee is not yet fit enough to resume international cricket," selection chairman Andrew Hilditch said in a statement. "While it's disappointing for Brett to miss the start of the Pakistan Series, the panel wants to take a careful approach to his return to the Australian team."

Australia team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said Lee's ankle was recovering from surgery in January but he had not bowled enough in practice to ensure a successful return to cricket.

"Brett will remain in South Africa to continue the rehabilitation program and gradually increase his bowling volume and intensity," Kountouris said. "I will be monitoring Brett's progress to assess his availability for any part of the series against Pakistan."

Australia won the test series in South Africa, but is behind 3-1 in the five-match limited-overs series with a match remaining.

The squad for the Pakistan series will assemble on Saturday in South Africa and the series starts April 22.

Lee will train with the Kings XI Punjab squad at Port Elizabeth ahead of the IPL Twenty20 tournament, which was switched to South Africa because of security concerns in India, but is expected to rejoin the Australian squad during the Pakistan series if he's fit enough to resume playing.

Lee, a 76-test veteran, is pushing to reclaim his place in the Australian attack for the Ashes series.

Skipper Ricky Ponting, top-order batsman Mike Hussey and strike bowler Mitchell Johnson were rested from the Pakistan series in order to prepare for the Twenty20 World Cup and Ashes series campaigns in England starting in June. Allrounders Andrew Symonds and Shane Watson have been recalled.

Ponting told reporters in South Africa that Lee's outdoor bowling sessions had been interrupted by wet weather in Sydney in recent weeks.

"Now that he's here in South Africa with his IPL team, when he is ready to bowl again there'll be no excuses for weather or anything," Ponting said. "He should be able to get a lot of bowling done and when he's fit enough and ready to play, hopefully he'll be playing for us because that's what he wants and that's what we need.

"We need to see him back in Australian colors."

Australia: Michael Clarke (captain), Doug Bollinger, Nathan Bracken, Callum Ferguson, Brett Geeves, Brad Haddin, Nathan Hauritz, Ben Hilfenhaus, James Hopes, David Hussey, Ben Laughlin, Shaun Marsh, Andrew Symonds, Shane Watson.