Melbourne: Explosive batsman David Warner remains troubled by a nagging back problem just a day before the announcement of the Australian squad to face India in the first Test starting here on December 26, leaving the selectors with a difficult job at hand.
Warner left the field twice during the three-day warm-up match against India in Canberra to seek treatment from team physiotherapist David Beakley for an injury which first surfaced while he carried his bat in Australia's unsuccessful run chase against New Zealand in Hobart last Monday.
A team spokesman, however, said that there were no concerns over Warner's availability for the first Test but the opener's injury has provided national selectors with more uncertainty leading to possibility of naming an expanded squad to give more time to some key but injured players.
Shane Watson remains the key piece of Australia's selection puzzle and selectors may consider naming him in an expanded squad to give him every chance of proving his fitness after recent hamstring and calf strains.
But Phillip Hughes's hopes of a last-minute reprieve appear dashed. The embattled opener was listed to bat at number four for the Cricket Australia Chairman's XI in their three-day game against India.
His place at the top of the order was taken by Test contender Ed Cowan, who will partner Warner as he seeks to persuade national selectors to hand him a baggy green cap for Christmas. Usman Khawaja will bat at number three.
Meanwhile, mind games, strategising how to tackle India's swing bowlers and one-on-one sessions dealing with cricket and life of the players were on menu for the batting 'boot' camp beginning here from Tuesday, according to Sydney Morning Herald.
Captain Michael Clarke, Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey, Brad Haddin, Dan Christian, Shane Watson and Shaun Marsh will take part in the three-day camp under the guidance of coach Mickey Arthur and batting coach Justin Langer.
Bowling machines will be used to simulate swing and the points of delivery of the Indian speedsters in a bid to improve footwork and deal with the likes of the crafty Zaheer Khan and rangy Ishant Sharma.
"You can do the physical and technical preparation but for me a lot of preparation for the opposition is a real mental thing. A lot of it has to do with strategy. It's a mind game really. We know the Indian bowlers really well. We've just got to get our minds attuned to getting ready for what is to come," Langer was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
"The (recent batting) collapses, we certainly don't ever accept those, we need to get better. I think the wicket in Hobart was really green, and in Cape Town it was a lot different wicket than we'd generally play on. We have to adapt better, there is no doubt about that, but I'd like to think that no one is panicking," he said.
Australia have long struggled to combat the moving ball, again highlighted in recent series against South Africa and New Zealand.
Arthur is concerned Indian counterpart Duncan Fletcher is plotting a swing-led take down of his top order. He will use the camp to deeply analyse his batsmen's techniques, having had little time to do so since joining Cricket Australia on the eve of the New Zealand series.