Mitch Starc won't be at the World Twenty20 but could at least be out of his moonboot within a week, after making a strong start to his recovery from ankle surgery.
The 25-year-old has not played cricket since late November when he suffered a stress fracture in his right foot in the day-night Test against New Zealand.
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He had spent much of 2015 delaying surgery to fix bone spurs in his ankle, so he could play in the Cricket World Cup and then in the Ashes and the home Tests against New Zealand.
Starc's plan to also play in the World Twenty20, to be held in India in March, changed when specialists re-assessed its severity.
He underwent surgery in mid December in which a large piece of bone was removed from the back of his right foot, some scar tissue from the front three bone spurs shaved.
Starc has recovered well from the surgery, but the stress fracture, thought to be less of an issue, has become the bigger hindrance.
"The surgery went really well, and if my foot wasn't broken I'd probably be doing a lot more than I am at the moment," Starc said on Wednesday.
The wounds created by the surgery will be inspected later this week, Starc said.
Because of his positive recovery, and the high level of movement he has in his right foot, he hoped to shed the moonboot very soon, he added.
"So I can do something other than sitting on the couch."
Once Starc is given permission to ditch the moonboot it will take five to six weeks to lift his training workload enough to return to running at top speed.
Australia must choose their squad for the World Twenty20 within the month. Starc reiterated he was "very unlikely" to be fit in time.
"Everything would have to go perfectly to be any chance," he said.
Starc said there was no schedule for his return. Rather than the World Twenty20, it would likely be the IPL in April and May, if he was cleared by CA medical staff, or the one-day tri-series in the Caribbean in June where the West Indies will host Australia and South Africa.
The left-armer is adamant he will not be rushed.
"I've played probably non-stop for nearly two years, so the silver lining to all this is I get to give the body a bit of a break .. build that strength and make sure everything is 100 per cent before I go again," he said.
"I don't want to rush it, because I've been rushed back before and dropped after a game."
Starc said he hoped his performances for Australia across all formats would ensure he would be immediately recalled he was available.