Australia will be anxiously waiting on news from Cricket Australia’s medical staff as the team tries to prepare for their World Cup and Ashes defences later this year. Spearhead pace bowler Mitchell Starc, who was just looking like getting into form, has been ruled out of this month’s One Day tour of India with an upper body injury.
He will join fellow fast bowler Josh Hazlewood on the sidelines, who was already ruled out of the Indian tour (and the Sri Lanka Test series that has just concluded) with a back injury. With two out of the “big three” of Australia’s fast bowling cartel ruled out of the series, and the usual opening bowlers at that, Pat Cummins will need to step up – probably along with new sensation Jhye Richardson.
Cummins is more than capable, having just been elevated to the status of the second best test bowler in the world, but he has a lot less experience with one day matches. Starc, on the other hand, was the player of the tournament when Australia won the 2015 World Cup and is absolutely lethal in the 50 over format as both an opener and a death bowler.
Cummins and Richardson have a good chance to press their claims for the World Cup and Ashes in this series, although fast bowling will be difficult in Indian conditions. The third fast bowler slot is also up for grabs, with a number of potential quicks currently pushing their cases through the Big Bash League.
The Aussie cricket team are also sweating on the fitness Steve Smith and David Warner, whose bans will expire in late March – just in time to play some of the next one day series against Pakistan. However, both are also currently recovering from elbow surgery, with Smith unlikely to be available before the World Cup (and possibly not even then) and Warner in doubt for Pakistan.