Faulkner to miss openers

The 24-year-old picked up “a moderate grade abdominal muscle??strain” during??Sunday’s Tri-Series final victory over England in Perth and is likely to miss the rematch on the opening day of the World Cup, February 14.

Cricket Australia physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said in a statement: “Scans??on James Faulkner’s injured side have confirmed a moderate grade abdominal??muscle strain which is consistent with a ‘typical’ fast-bowling side strain??injury.

“He will receive intensive treatment for the next two weeks??before we can determine when he can return to batting and bowling.”

Australia coach Darren Lehmann added: “Let’s see how he goes in the next week or so and we’ll make some decisions from there.

“It’s not as bad as we first thought which is great for us because James is a very important player for us. His record as a batsman is very good so we’ll just have to see how he is in the next few weeks.”

Faulkner was in glittering form with the bat during the Tri-Series, averaging 100 and hitting a key unbeaten 50 in the final, also taking six wickets across the five matches at an average of 30.33.

Better news for the World Cup hosts comes in the form of captain Michael Clarke, who looks to be winning his race for fitness following hamstring trouble.

Lehmann said of the 33-year-old:??”He’s going to be fresh and ready to go. We’re really confident of that – and??he’s confident and that’s more important. We need him to be back and playing??well.”