Faulkner in fitness fight

MELBOURNE - Injured Tasmanian all-rounder James Faulkner will head to Brisbane on Monday in a bid to fast-track his recovery from knee surgery for Australia's T20 series in South Africa. 

Australia will play games against the Proteas on March 9, 12 and 14 before heading to Bangladesh for the World T20 and the Launceston-born talent is considered pivotal to his nation's prospects. 

``I head up to Brisbane to the cricket academy on Monday and I'll stay there for the week,'' said Faulkner, whose untimely injury saw him miss the Test component of the South African tour.

``Fingers crossed I'll be running by the end of this week and bowling at the end of the month off a short run-up. 

``I'm probably three or four weeks away.''

The 23-year-old former Launceston player was speaking at Cricket Australia's Melbourne launch for the 2015 ODI World Cup, another format in which he has a proven pedigree, particularly after last month's one-wicket win over England at the Gabba when he blasted an unbeaten 69 off 47 balls. 

Australia has not hosted the World Cup since 1992 and not won since 2007 so Faulkner was keen to get his hands on the trophy alongside CA chief executive James Sutherland.

``It's quite embarrassing, I was only one the last time it was in Australia,'' he said. 

``Playing backyard cricket as a junior, it's a thing you dream about. 

``It would be a dream come true and it would be even better to hold the cup up in 2015. 

``But having said that, there's a lot of cricket to be played.''

The success of the T20 format domestically in Australia and the anticipation surrounding the forthcoming World T20 has shot the shortest format of the game to prominence.

``T20 has had a massive impact on 50-over cricket,'' Faulkner said. ``At the moment it's all Twenty20, Twenty20 everywhere. 

``When the World Cup rolls around (in 2015) it's going to be a really important series and I'm sure everyone will be even more excited than any T20 cricket they've played.'' 

New Zealand will host Sri Lanka in Christchurch and Australia will play England at the MCG on February 14, 2015, on the opening day of the tournament. The MCG will host the final on March 29. 

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