Aussie cricketers return to training

Wednesday, 2 March 2011 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Australia’s World Cup cricketers resumed in the nets in the Sri Lankan capital on Tuesday following a three-day break.

With comfortable wins over Zimbabwe and New Zealand to open their title defence, chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch has announced there won’t be a replacement for back-up pace bowler Doug Bollinger ahead of Saturday’s Group A clash with Sri Lanka in Colombo.

Hilditch said the pace trio of Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson and Shaun Tait were all firing.

“All our fast bowlers are fit and we have John Hastings in the squad ready to play if an opportunity presents itself,” Hilditch said.

“There is seen to be no rush in making the decision.”

Dirk Nannes put his hand up for selection on Sunday with 3-29 in Victoria’s win in the one-day final against Tasmania. Bollinger is facing possible ankle surgery.

Although Ponting said on Friday night he expected Bollinger to be replaced with another fast bowler, the decision to delay making an announcement could perhaps leave the door open for veteran middle-order batsman Mike Hussey to make a shock comeback.

Hussey, 35, was ruled out because of hamstring surgery but is now returning to fitness.

Murali pulls out of Aussie coaching job

Spin bowling legend Muttiah Muralitharan has backed out of his proposed coaching role with Cricket Australia and the Centre of Excellence.

Muralitharan is citing English county and IPL playing commitments as the reason he can no longer coach Australia’s next generation of spin bowlers. The news comes just days before the Sri Lanka star takes the field against Australia in their vital World Cup clash.

Murali’s decision could not come at a worse time with Cricket Australia conducting a review after this summer’s embarrassing Ashes defeat and Australia’s steady decline in the longer form of the game.

Muralitharan’s manager told News Limited the spin legend would not visit Australia due to his commitments with IPL side Kochi and county side Gloucestershire.

“Unfortunately, Murali will not be able to make it,” said his agent Kashil Gunasekera.

“Cricket Australia wanted him to come down for a particular period of time but it doesn’t go down well with the IPL and his Gloucestershire assignments.

“They (CA) wanted him to come at the end of May but then everything changed with prior commitments he had undertaken. They were trying to figure out another time, but it just couldn’t be finalised.”

Australia selector Greg Chappell was behind the move to bring Muralitharan to Australia and is not giving up hope of him coaching here at a later date.

“I haven’t spoken to him during the World Cup, I haven’t any further news,” he said.

“The invitation has been made, it will depend on what his commitments are and where he will be at various times so hopefully he can fit it in. But that’s all I can tell you. Murali will do what he needs to do - we’re hopeful it will include the Centre of Excellence.”