D-Day for Stoinis to prove Cup fitness
Aussie all-rounder Marcus Stoinis faces the most important net session of his cricket career on Tuesday as he battles to retain his spot in the World Cup squad.
Stoinis suffered a second side strain in a month, this time to his right side, but is refusing to give up hope that he can be passed fit for what would be the biggest game of his life.
While Usman Khawaja (hamstring) has already been ruled out of the tournament, Australia has not lodged paperwork to officially replace either him or Stoinis in the 15-man squad.
But like-for-like replacements Matthew Wade and Mitchell Marsh have joined the Aussie camp in Birmingham, training with the team on Monday.
It is peculiar that the Aussies are yet to officially make a squad change, particularly given they substituted Pete Handscomb in just three hours after Shaun Marsh suffered a broken arm in the nets last Thursday.
While Stoinis was able to throw at training on Monday, he did not appear in the nets. Bowling coach Adam Griffith said his fate hinged on Tuesday's main session.
"He's pretty tough, Stoin. He's played with the left side (strain) through the tournament and he bowled seven overs against England in a row and got through OK," Griffith said.
"Scans show things, but it will be more around his ability to perform.
"We'll have a good look at that (on Tuesday) when he bowls - not only will it be on the pace and the GPS numbers, but also his execution. We'll be able to make a pretty good assessment from there.
"The left one is obviously the harder one because that's the pull down. The right side actually (affects) his pull shot and his batting and throwing. It's pretty uncommon, so I'm looking forward to seeing how he goes.
"He'll train (on Tuesday), he'll fully train. That's the best indication we'll have that he's not just fit to play and fit to perform."
Coach Justin Langer said the Aussies would "keep investigating" why Stoinis had broken down in two out of his past five matches.
"It's really strange, isn't it? That someone as fit and as athletic as him is having these strains on both sides," Langer said.
"I don't know why it's happening, but he's a tough character and he's done well to get this far."
Mitchell Marsh flew to England early when Stoinis suffered the left side strain last month, training with the squad on standby uncase he didn't recover.
Marsh then returned to Australia A, where he made 126 runs without getting dismissed and took 3/43 last Sunday.