Michael Clarke is one step away from returning to the Australian cricket team, with a training session on Tuesday to decide his availability.
After several weeks of intense speculation, Australian coach Darren Lehmann hopes the skipper will return in Wednesday’s final warm-up match against the UAE at the MCG.
Australia’s Cup campaign starts on Saturday with a massive match against England, also at the MCG.
Regardless of whether he plays against the UAE, Clarke will still probably miss the England game and then play in Australia’s second Cup match against Bangladesh.
The captain has been sidelined with a serious hamstring injury since the first Test against India three months ago.
He fielded, batted and bowled for an Australian XI team against Bangladesh in Brisbane last week and had no problems.
“Michael, if he gets through training tomorrow, hopefully he’ll play the trial game on Wednesday,” Lehmann told Fox Sports.
“So that’s a pleasing thing for us.
“He’s trained the house down … now it’s a case of getting up to speed with the fielding and away he goes from there.”
Lehmann is also pleased about all-rounder James Faulkner’s recovery from his injury.
“He’ll have a bat tomorrow in the nets,” Lehmann said.
“So he’s going okay.
“He won’t play the first game (against England).”
Lehmann is forecasting no changes to the Australian squad, but said they had good depth if injuries happen.
“We’re really happy with the squad … we have a squad that can adapt to different conditions really well, so we’re pleased with that,” he said.
“Everyone has them … you just have to cope with it and deal with it.
“We have good players who have missed out, so that’s a good sign.
“If we have some injuries and we have to replace them, so be it.
“But at the moment they’re all ticking along nicely.”
Geoff Marsh and Ian Healy, who played in the 1992 World Cup, have spoken to the Australian team about being the home team.
“We’ll just enjoy the whole eight weeks,” Lehmann said.
“Enjoy the packed houses, the crowds supporting you and enjoy putting on a show for everyone.”