The Australian team is all set to wrap up their preparations for the ICC World Cup and have only the remainder of the Pakistan series to get through.
Captain Finch has been without his premier fast bowlers Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc, while all-rounder Marcus Stoinis (who injured his thumb in the India series) has recovered and is being used very sparingly against Pakistan in the UAE.
These injuries have raised concerns about the potency of the Australian bowling attack at the World Cup, but the bowlers in question are quietly confident of being ready for the title defense in the summer.
The batting will be boosted by the return of the experienced duo of Steve Smith and David Warner.
Hazlewood reckons that it is not possible for him to be fully fit by April 23, which is when the final squad will be announced, or in time for the warm-up games ahead of the World Cup.
“When the squad gets announced [on April 23] I’ll probably be 65-70 per cent [fit], and I’ve still got a good four or five weeks from that date to get ready to play one-day cricket," Hazlewood said on the Unplayable Podcast.
“We head up to Brisbane early May – there’s a couple of games against New Zealand I believe. I don’t think I’ll be fit for those, but (for) the one-day warm-up games in England, I think I’ll be cutting it a little bit close, I guess, but pretty confident."
In Hazlewood’s race against time, he has company in the left-arm ace Mitchell Starc, who’s expected to be back in action by mid-May.
Australia though are wary of hastily bringing them back into action ahead of what is a long season of international cricket which includes the Ashes after the World Cup.
Thankfully for Australia, Stoinis’ injury is not as serious and he has been using protection on his thumb while fielding and the all-rounder expects to recover fully sooner than Hazlewood and Starc.
“It was uncomfortable for a good couple of days. It’s just something I’m going to keep covered up while fielding. But it’s pulled up pretty well. After each game, it’s been okay. I think I’ll be over it by (the World Cup). I think it should be completely healed within four weeks," Stoinis said.
The all-rounder who believes the team has been functioning well in the last 12 months, will join the IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore right after the ODI series against Pakistan.