England will give Dawid Malan and Mark Wood “as long as possible” to prove their fitness ahead of a crunch T20 World Cup semi-final against India at Adelaide.
Malan tweaked his left groin against Sri Lanka and Wood has pulled up with general stiffness in his upper legs in the last couple of days, putting question marks over their availability for Thursday.
Jos Buttler offered little in the way of an update on either Malan or Wood at his pre-match press conference but the England captain did reveal they will likely make a late decision on the pair.
“We will see how they pull up,” Buttler said. “We trust the medical team, we trust the two guys as well. We will give them as long as possible.
“You need guys to be fit to participate in the game. I think in all sports you have players that don’t always play at 100 per cent but of course you have to be able to fulfil your role in the team.”
The duo performed a few shuttle runs on the Adelaide Oval outfield at Wednesday’s practice, while Wood bowled around a dozen balls towards the end of nets without looking like he was at full tilt.
Wood has been the fastest bowler on show at this tournament, averaging 92mph and touching 96mph on occasion, and he would be expected to have a key role against India’s star-studded batting line-up.
He seems likelier to play than Malan, England’s number three batter who was seen having a couple of gentle throwdowns with head coach Matthew Mott as the net session wound towards a close.
England have selected the same XI in each of their four tournament fixtures so far but if Malan is ruled out then Phil Salt seems the most obvious candidate to step into the breach at first drop.
Salt has impressed the England hierarchy with his attitude on this trip – as well as the preceding tour to Pakistan – even though he has been among those kicking their heels on the sidelines on matchday.
But if he is selected for his first appearance of England’s campaign, Buttler is convinced his Lancashire team-mate will be able to handle the magnitude of the occasion.
“He has a fantastic mindset, especially for the T20 format, he certainly doesn’t fear anyone and is someone who wants to get on the front foot and take the game on,” Buttler said.
“He embodies quite a lot of what we speak about as a team and how we ask guys to play. Certainly I wouldn’t expect to see anything else from him if he gets the chance to play.
“He’s certainly someone who’s not going to shy away from an occasion, I feel like he’s someone who will definitely take it on.
“We have some fantastic players who have not yet played in the tournament and they will be desperate to make their mark if given a chance. I have full faith in every member of our squad.”