Sydney - Injured Australian paceman Mitchell Starc isn't expecting to recover in time from ankle surgery to play in the Twenty20 World Cup in March.
Starc sustained a stress fracture in his right foot on the opening day of the day-night test against New Zealand in Adelaide in November, and later elected to go ahead with previously delayed surgery on bone spurs in his right ankle, forcing a long lay-off that included the ongoing three-test series against the West Indies.
"It's a pretty rough time frame," Starc told reporters during the washed out day four of the third test between Australia and West Indies at the Sydney Cricket Ground. "It's still 5-6 weeks away before I'm back to 100 percent running."
Playing at the Twenty20 World Cup in India, "is very unlikely," he said, "everything would have to go perfectly to be any chance. I won't know until I can start doing some stuff on it."
Starc, who was wearing a "moon boot" to take pressure off his foot, said his first return to action would more likely be during the Indian Premier League tournament, starting late April.
"That could be a possibility and there's the West Indies tri-series after that as well," Starc said. "I've played probably non-stop for two years and the silver lining is I get to give the body a bit of a break and rebuild that strength. Make sure everything is 100 per cent before I go again."
The left-arm swing paceman, who has taken 91 wickets in 25 tests and was one of the stars of Australia's World Cup-winning campaign last year, did acknowledge that a return to the national team was not a certainty.
"I don't think you can ever say 100 ercent that you've cemented a spot," Starc said. "I'm still going to have to work when I get back to bowling to get my spot back.
"But I'd like to think in the last 10-12 months I've come a long way in all forms of cricket."