Melbourne: Australia captain Ricky Ponting will not play in the fifth and final Ashes Test against England in Sydney next week due to complications over his broken finger, the team said in a statement on Thursday.
"Ricky Ponting had a repeat x-ray after the fourth Test which showed evidence that the fracture of his fifth finger has moved during the course of the Melbourne test," team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said.
"As such he needs to commence treatment immediately to achieve a satisfactory outcome." Kountouris said treatment options included surgery or "aggressive splinting and immobilisation" and a decision on what course to take would be made within 24 hours after consultation with a hand specialist.
Ponting broke the little finger on his left hand attempting a catch during the third Test in Perth, but played with discomfort in the fourth test in Melbourne, which England won to retain the Ashes and take a 2-1 lead into the final match.
Following the defeat, Ponting, who has faced calls to step down from the captaincy, said he was confident he would play in the Sydney test though his omission on Thursday had delayed the release of the team.
Kountouris said Ponting's return would be determined on how quickly the fracture healed. "He will hopefully commence training in the later part of the Australian summer," Kountouris said. "He is expected to be fully fit for the ... World Cup."