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Australia target New Zealand tour for Mitchell Starc return

Australia target New Zealand tour for Mitchell Starc return
Mitchell Starc (left) might return to action earlier than anticipated.
©REUTERS / Action Images

Australian bowling coach Craig McDermott revealed that the team management is looking to get their injured fast bowler Mitchell Starc fit in time for the tour of New Zealand in February 2016.

Starc left the field on the first day of the third Test match against New Zealand with a foot injury, which upon further scans was revealed to be an early stage stress fracture.

Disclosing that the injury to Starc is not as serious as they expected it to be, McDermott said that the 25-year-old will be out for at least three weeks.

McDermott further added that Starc is a crucial part of their plans for the upcoming New Zealand tour and the 2016 World Twenty20 in India.

"The good news for us it's not going to be as long as we thought, he's in a boot for three weeks and we'll start working from there.

"Hopefully we can get him up for the New Zealand series and the World T20 where he's ranked No.1 in the world and be very important for us, in both series really.

"It's only a rest period at the moment so his heel impingement (surgery) may come at some other later time we'll have to wait and see.

"That's a time thing to see how long we can keep it at bay, more than anything else." 

The foot injury to Starc adds to his pre-existing ankle injury that will need a surgery to fix eventually keeping him out of action for three to four months.

Having played 11 Test matches in 2015, Starc has picked up 46 wickets at an average of 25.06, making him Australia’s best bowler behind Josh Hazlewood.

In the One-Day International format, Starc is the leading wicket-taker in 2015, with 41 scalps from 18 matches at an excellent average of 16.26.

In the 2015 World Cup, Starc played a crucial role in Australia winning their fifth title with a player of the series performance that saw him take 22 wickets from eight matches.

Lauding Starc's efforts for Australia in 2015, McDermott is backing James Pattinson to take up the place of Mitchell Starc in the upcoming home series against West Indies.

"The last 12 months he's done a wonderful job.

"His blowing has improved every game and his stature as bowler is growing in world cricket, now on the Test match side of it which is great to see.

"He (Pattinson) was pretty close to playing here I would have thought.

"So with him back we've got our three quicks and Mitchell Marsh.

"After that we've got Nathan Coulter-Nile, if he can keep his tongue wired shut that would be great, and we'll be able to get him involved at some stage if he bowls well enough." 

Australia will tour New Zealand in 2016 to play three ODIs and two Test matches between 3rd and 24th February. 

© Cricket World 2015