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Australians take gamble with injured Symonds for World Cup

Australia yesterday named injured all-rounder Andrew Symonds in their 15-man squad to defend their World Cup title in the Caribbean next month. They have also included Shaun Tait, the fast bowler, and the wicketkeeper Brad Haddin as cover for Adam Gilchrist.

Symonds is likely to miss the opening matches of the tournament as he continues his recovery from a ruptured biceps tendon, while Tait got the nod over Stuart Clark for the final seamer's berth. Haddin was included as Gilchrist is set to miss the opening stages to be at the birth of his third child. Symonds can still be replaced if his recovery does not progress satisfactorily before the tournament.

While Symonds' plight will be a cause for concern to Australia so, too, will Ricky Ponting's admission yesterday that he received three cortisone injections to ease back pain during the Ashes. "It's been something that has been bothering me a lot through the summer," the captain said. "It started the second day of the Perth Test match, which is a long time ago now. It hasn't gone away and it's got worse game by game."

Ponting insisted, however, that with rest he would be fit for the World Cup.

New Zealand, who England meet in their group, recalled the pace bowler Daryl Tuffey for their squad. Kyle Mills was ruled out last week to undergo knee surgery. Tuffey, 28, has not played an international match in almost two years but was preferred to Andre Adams and Chris Martin.

Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Asif and Umar Gul have all been named in Pakistan's squad despite injury concerns. Shoaib has been suffering with a knee injury, Asif has an elbow problem and Gul has been sidelined with an ankle injury.