England may have to nurse seamers James Anderson and Stuart Broad through this month’s Carlton Mid Tri-Series in a bid to have them fully fit for the World Cup.
England’s new-ball pairing are key to the side’s one-day plans, sharing 292 caps and 325 wickets, but have had injury-disrupted build-ups to the flagship event.
Both men missed the preparatory tour of Sri Lanka with knee issues, allowing them to rest up and make the 15-man squad.
The duo will each take part in the three-way clash against Australia and India, but new captain Eoin Morgan has hinted they may not yet be ready to line-up alongside each other for the entire series.
“That is probably not going to happen with our bowlers, but ideally it would be great,” he said.
“Jimmy and Broady are making great progress, the two boys are going really well but it’s a monitoring process day by day.
“Broady is probably a bit ahead of Jimmy at the moment, but when we get into the games we’ll have a better idea of how they pull up.
“It’s hard to gauge from nets, it’s much easier to see how they are after a competitive match, so until they bowl in a game it is not the same.
“There are a number of things up in the air.”
One thing that is certainly not up in the air is the position of Kevin Pietersen.
Controversially sacked a year ago and since then a very public critic of the England and Wales Cricket Board, as well as some former team-mates, Pietersen’s name refuses to go away.
Some wondered whether Cook’s axing as one-day skipper, and the appointment of Morgan, might be the first step to an unlikely reunion, but the Dubliner was emphatic that the thought never crossed his mind.
“The decision was clearly made a year ago that Kevin was not going to be a part of English cricket moving forward,” stressed Morgan, who has enjoyed a more sympathetic relationship with Pietersen than many others.
“The decision was made quite clear the day I was announced as captain and he didn’t come into it.
“No, I didn’t (consider asking for his recall). I did speak to Jimmy (Whitaker, national selector) about the potential squad and he gave me an inkling into what it was going to be.
“He asked whether I had any changes and I said ‘No, that’s our best squad’.”
Meanwhile, Ian Bell will be given the chance to book his place as England’s World Cup opener after being confirmed as Moeen Ali’s partner for the warm-up match in Australia.
The decision to axe former captain Alastair Cook before Christmas created a vacancy at the head of the innings, with Bell and Alex Hales vying for the role.
Those who want England to pursue a more explosive style of one-day cricket have lobbied for Twenty20 specialist Hales to be given his head but when the side line-up against an ACT XI in Canberra, it is the experienced Bell who will face the new ball.
Eoin Morgan was quick to remove any doubt over the make up of his top order.
“The top three will be Ali, Bell and (James) Taylor. The first opportunity goes to those guys,” he said.
“Belly is a class act, somebody we’ve looked to for a long time to score a heavy weight of runs.
“He’s pretty key at the top of the order.”