England will give Dawid Malan and Mark Wood “as long as possible” to prove their fitness ahead of a T20 World Cup semi-final against India in Adelaide.
Malan tweaked his left groin against Sri Lanka and Wood stopped with general stiffness in his upper legs for the past two days, putting question marks over their availability for Thursday.
Jos Buttler offered little update on Malan or Wood in his pre-match press conference, but the England captain revealed he is likely to make a late decision on the pair.
“We’ll see how they do,” Buttler said. “We trust the medical team, we also trust the two guys. We will give them as much time as possible.
“The guys have to be in good shape to participate in the game. I think in all sports you have players who don’t always play 100%, but of course you have to be able to fulfill your role in the team.
The duo made a few shuttle runs on the Adelaide Oval outfield during Wednesday’s practice, while Wood tossed a dozen balls into the back of the net without looking like he was going all out.
Wood has been the fastest bowler in this tournament, averaging 92mph and hitting 96mph on occasion, and would be expected to play a key role against India’s star batting squad .
He looks more likely to play than Malan, England’s number three hitter, who was seen taking a few smooth shots with head coach Matthew Mott as the session at net drew to a close.
England have selected the same XI in each of their four tournament matches so far, but if Malan is ruled out, Phil Salt looks the most obvious candidate to step into the breach at the first drop.
Salt impressed the English hierarchy with his attitude on this trip – as well as on the previous tour to Pakistan – even though he was among those kept away on match day.
But if selected for his first appearance in the English campaign, Buttler is confident his Lancashire team-mate will be able to handle the scale of the occasion.
“He’s got a fantastic mindset, especially for the T20 format, he certainly doesn’t fear anyone and he’s someone who wants to step up and get the upper hand,” Buttler said.
“He embodies a lot of what we talk about as a team and how we ask guys to play. I certainly wouldn’t expect to see anything else from him if he had the chance to play.
“He’s definitely someone who’s not going to shy away from an opportunity, I feel like he’s someone who’s definitely going to take it.
“We have some fantastic players who haven’t played in the tournament yet and they will be desperate to make their mark if given a chance. I have complete confidence in every member of our team.