Melbourne:In an "encouraging" news ahead of the World Cup, Ricky Ponting is said to be recovering fast from his finger injury but team physio Alex Kountouris is cautious about taking Australian skipper back to the nets.
Ponting, who broke his finger during the miserable Ashes series, was assessed by Melbourne specialist Greg Hoy, who has advised Kountouris to step up his rehabilitation.
"We saw the specialist yesterday and he was reasonably happy with how Ricky is going. It's an encouraging sign. We'll see what happens in the next week or two," Kountouris said.
"We'll progress to the next stage now. We'll get his hand moving a bit and get it out of the splint, hopefully by the weekend. We expect Ricky to be right for the World Cup, but it's when he is right to bat again.
"Until he picks up the bat again you don't know (how) his hand will respond. He might do it and be fantastic or it might blow up and we'll have to slow down his recovery," Kountouris said.
The physio, though, was confident that Ponting will be fit to take on Zimbabwe during the team's World Cup opener on February 21.
"Ricky's finger looks good. Once he starts batting he'll be fine, but we need to get there first," Kountouris was quoted as saying by 'Herald Sun'.
The right hander may, however, still miss the couple of warm-up matches ahead of the cricketing extravaganza to shield his finger but his positive progress will buoy the team's spirits even as some of the key members are racing against the time to be fit for the tournament.
Off-spinner Nathan Hauritz, paceman Shaun Tait and ever dependable Michael Hussey are all recuperating from injuries, casting shadow over their availability for the mega event.