Australia may risk going into next months World Cup a player short, as they gamble on Andrew Symonds’ recovery from surgery to a torn bicep tendon.

Cricket Australia will seek clarification from the ICC as to whether Symonds will be able to be replaced in the squad should he fail to be fit by the World Cup, an event looking likely with his recovery period estimated at up to five weeks.

Australian captain Ricky Ponting told the media that the selectors had found themselves in a slight dilemma. Should he be fit for the latter part of the tournament, Symonds would provide Australia with a much added bonus with a player of his skills and talent. However should he not recover in time, Symonds would be a waste of a place in the squad.

“I think there are a few things we have to check out with the ICC first as far as taking an injured player away to the West Indies is concerned,” Ponting said.

“The doctors have basically said six or seven weeks and he should be right to start playing again then.”

“That sort of period comes at a really crucial time in the middle of the World Cup there so to have him around and playing those games would be great for us.”

“That is a difficult question at the moment – can we risk taking an injured player away, and if we happen to have another one or two injuries over there then we could get caught short.”

“He’s such an important player for us and I know how much he wants to be at the World Cup as well, so we’ve got a lot of thinking to do to see if we pick him in the squad to take over to the West Indies.”

Former Australian captain Ian Chappell recently described the all-rounder’s injury blow as the worst possible setback for the Australian cricket team as they seek to take out a third straight title.

“He could almost be the worst player you could lose if he is lost for the World Cup. It brings Australia right back to the field,” he said.

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