Ryan Harris has been called into Australia's World Twenty20 squad as a replacement for the injured Brett Lee. The 33-year-old Lee suffered an arm injury in Australia's surprise one-run defeat in Tuesday's warm-up match against Zimbabwe in St Lucia.
Harris and Doug Bollinger were immediately mooted as potential replacements after both excelling in the recently completed Indian Premier League. National Selection Panel chairman Andrew Hilditch said: "While it is obviously disappointing for Brett, this gives Ryan Harris a wonderful opportunity to join the Australian squad in the West Indies for the ICC World Twenty20 tournament.
"Ryan was very close to selection in the initial 15-man squad. He has been in excellent form for Australia in one-day and Test formats and during his recent stint at the IPL.
"We believe he is the ideal replacement for Brett, being a right-arm swing bowler with a good ability to bowl at the death of an innings.
"His ability with the bat and in the field also adds extra versatility to our squad."
Lee completed the match against Zimbabwe, bowling four overs and taking one for 13, but after complaining of soreness afterwards he later had MRI scans which revealed the extent of the damage. Team physio Alex Kountouris said: "During yesterday's game against Zimbabwe Brett developed increasing right elbow pain and by the time he completed his final over the pain was significant.
"At the conclusion of the innings it was obvious Brett had sustained an injury to one of the forearm muscles near the elbow and this was confirmed by a subsequent MRI scan.
"Due to the condensed nature of this tournament, Brett will not recover in time to take any further part and has therefore been withdrawn from the squad.
"This is not a recurrence of the elbow injury that recently required surgery but a new injury that will require specialist opinion upon his return to Australia."
The news is the latest setback for Lee, who retired from Test cricket in February because of injury and has not played for Australia in any format since October.
He missed the Australian summer with an elbow injury and, after working his way back to fitness and playing in the IPL, had hoped to rekindle his international career in a fearsome pace attack alongside Shaun Tait, Dirk Nannes and Mitchell Johnson in the Caribbean.
Australia play their second warm-up game against the Windward Islands today before beginning their World Twenty20 campaign against Pakistan on Sunday.
Chasing 173 for victory against Zimbabwe, the Aussies made 172 for 7 to fall one run short in a thrilling finish. Opener David Warner top-scored with 72 off just 49 balls, while captain Michael Clarke made a quickfire 49.
Needing 13 off the final over, Clarke was clean bowled from the fifth ball of the over before Mitchell Johnson, needing a four for victory, was run out off a wide. Lee could only manage a bye from the final delivery as Zimbabwe held on for victory. Earlier, Johnson claimed four for 23, while Nannes, Lee and Shane Watson took a wicket each as Zimbabwe reached 173 from their 20 overs. Elton Chigumbura starred for the underdogs, smashing 76 from just 35 balls, which included five fours and six sixes.
He was well supported by Craig Ervine (39) with the duo combining for a 114-run partnership to rescue their team after they were earlier reduced to 36 for four.Reuse content