Fast bowler Mitchell Starc has all but written off his chances of making a faster-than-expected recovery from ankle surgery and playing a part in Australia's bid for a first World Twenty20 title.
The 25-year-old left-arm quick had surgery on ankle spurs after sustaining a stress fracture in his foot during the inaugural day-night test against New Zealand in November.
Starc, the player of the tournament at last year's 50-overs World Cup, was always an outside shot to make the March 11-April 3 World Twenty20 in India due to the estimated recuperation period and he was unable to offer a better prognosis on Wednesday.
"It's very unlikely," he told reporters at the Sydney Cricket Ground. "Everything would have to go perfectly to be any chance. I won't know until I can start doing some stuff on it.
"I don't want to rush it. I want to make sure it's 100 percent because I've rushed back before and been dropped after a game.
"I've played probably non-stop for two years and the silver lining is I get to give the body a bit of a break and rebuild that strength. Make sure everything is 100 percent before I go again."
'It's going to take a while to get back to my bowling workload'
Starc said the operation had gone well but it would be a while before he was bowling in excess of 150 kilometres per hour as he did in the second Test against New Zealand in Perth in November, when one delivery was clocked at 160 kph.
"Everything had felt great on that day, so I think it just comes back to the rhythm and smoothness in my action on any given day," said Starc, sporting a 'moon boot' to stabilise the injured joint.
"It's going to take a while to get back to my bowling workload and get that rhythm back after spending some time out.
"It always takes some time to get that pace back. You obviously are not going to bowl at full pace soon as you come back, it takes a bit of time, so I'm not sure how it's going to go."
'You can never say 100 percent that you've cemented a spot'
Starc will miss Australia's one-day series against India, February's two-test series in New Zealand and is not even certain he will be fit to play in the Indian Premier League in April and May.
It was probably modesty, however, that led him to question whether Australia's main strike bowler would not ease straight back into the national side once he was fit again.
"I don't think you can ever say 100 percent that you've cemented a spot," he said.
"I'm still going to have to work my butt off when I get back to bowling to get my spot back. But I'd like to think in the last 10-12 months I've come a long way in all forms of cricket."