ICC World Cup: Travis Head to join Australian squad this week

Opener Travis Head could be ready to play as soon as Australia’s fifth World Cup clash with New Zealand after returning to the nets, with his flight to India booked for Thursday.

Head, who suffered a fractured hand in South Africa, had the cast removed late last week and is now facing throwdowns, with scans revealing the fracture is healing well enough for the left-hander to play what could be a significant role at the tournament.

Declaring the injury had healed better than first hoped, Head said the fourth clash with the Netherlands would be exactly six weeks after his injury, but making that would be “aggressive”.

Instead, he could return to face the Kiwis, giving him four games before the finals, should the Australians, who are yet to open their World Cup account after two matches, make it that far.

“It’s coming along well and probably better than we hoped,” Head said on Sunday.

“When we decided not to go with surgery, which would have meant a 10-week recovery, we were told it would be minimum six weeks with the splint before we could look at playing again.

“Going by that plan, the Netherlands game (on October 25) will be just under six weeks from impact which is a pretty aggressive date, so everything would have to go perfectly from here to make that deadline.

“But we’ll just see how it progresses over the next few days and I’m excited by the prospect of joining the boys over there later in the week,” added Head, who’ll fly out from Adelaide on Thursday.

“I wasn‘t even sure I’d be able to bat when the splint came off, but apart from a fair bit of stiffness given I hadn’t been able to use it for the past four weeks, I was able to hit balls and play a fair range of shots.”

Australia has to beat Sri Lanka on Monday night to stay alive in the World Cup after losses to India and South Africa.

Head had formed a key opening partnership with David Warner and in his absence Mitch Marsh has returned scores of zero and seven to start the tournament.

Captain Pat Cummins is playing with his wrist heavily strapped after fracturing it during the Ashes and Head said there were still boxes he needed to tick outside of batting to take the field.

“I‘m not sure what it will mean for fielding, we haven’t explored that yet,” he told cricket.com.au.

“I had it scanned the other day and it‘s healing, and I guess it will be a bit like Pat Cummins’ wrist that gets strapped up as protection after he got that fracture.

“So there‘s still a few hurdles we need to clear, and everything needs to fall into place from my end and from the team’s point of view over there before the final decision is made.

“But hopefully that‘s all good and I’m on the plane on Thursday.”

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