SYDNEY: Australia fast bowler Pat Cummins sustained a minor injury in the loss to New Zealand at the weekend but all-rounder James Faulkner is close to a return for the World Cup co-hosts after recovering from a side strain.
Injury-prone Cummins reported a "slight side strain" after making his World Cup debut in the one-wicket loss to the Black Caps on Saturday but scans revealed "nothing serious", a team spokeswoman told reporters in Perth on Monday.
The 21-year-old, who took 2-38 against New Zealand, will be monitored by team medical staff ahead of Wednesday`s match against Afghanistan with Josh Hazlewood likely to replace him if he is not passed fit to play at the WACA.
Faulkner, meanwhile, told a news conference that he would be fit to face the Afghans if he got through Monday`s training session without further mishap.
The 24-year-old suffered a side strain in the one-day tri-series final against England in Perth in early February and has missed both of Australia`s matches so far.
"I`m going to bowl half a dozen overs today and if I get through that, I`ll be available for selection and hopefully I`ll get picked," he told a news conference at the WACA.
"I`ve been batting since two or three days after the injury to be brutally honest. Being a right-handed batter and left-handed bowler, it`s not the same side."
But for his injury the left-arm seamer would have been one of the first names on the team list after his form this season, not least the unbeaten 24-ball 50 he scored in his last outing to drive Australia to victory over England.
Australia need a victory over the Afghans to kickstart their campaign after their second match against Bangladesh was washed out and their batting line-up was skittled for 151 runs in 32.2 overs by New Zealand at Eden Park.
"We all know we didn`t perform as well as we could over in New Zealand and that`s probably just going to make the team hungrier," Faulkner said.
"So far we`ve been very successful as a team and you`re going to come across these little setbacks from time-to-time. Hopefully we can get back on the winning path on Wednesday."