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Tait nearing cut-off time for World Cup

Speedster Shaun Tait is running out of time in his bid to play in next month's inaugural Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa.

Tait has not yet resumed bowling after having surgery on his right elbow in June and is approaching the cut-off point for a decent preparation.

The 24-year-old was to have spent last week with fast bowling coach Troy Cooley at the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane.

But his recovery has been hampered by an infection around the operation site and he has remained in Adelaide.

"It's more or less a day-by-day prospect to try and get him up for this tournament," Cooley said.

"He needs to have a workload under him and I'm just waiting for the medical people to hand him over to me.

"We can get his workload up pretty quickly. He only needs to bowl four overs a match in Twenty20 cricket.

"But common sense says every week that he's not bowling makes it a bit harder to get that workload under his belt."

Tait is working on his rehabilitation under the supervision of Australian team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris.

A Cricket Australia spokesman said Tait's condition is under review.

"We'll probably only know in a couple of weeks what the answer is," the spokesman said.

Captain Ricky Ponting has spoken of the possibility of throwing Tait and Brett Lee together in an all-out opening pace assault for the tournament, which Australia opens with a match against Zimbabwe on September 12.

"The beauty of them is they're both wicket-taking bowlers, but at the same time they can both go around the park a little bit as well," Ponting said.

"Whether you can afford to do that in the Twenty20 World Cup - who knows?"

If Tait is ruled out, Tasmanian Ben Hilfenhaus is a leading candidate to come into the 15-man squad, while Mitchell Johnson will challenge for a regular place in the 11 alongside the NSW trio of Lee, Nathan Bracken and Stuart Clark.

Cooley says Lee is making great progress in his recovery from ankle surgery four months ago and is right on track for the Twenty20 championship and the long season beyond.

"Everything is going to plan. He's fit and healthy," Cooley said.

"He's been bowling three-quarter pace. That's what he needs to be at this stage. You don't want to be pushing him too hard too early. He needs to go through the full recovery cycle."

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