Mitchell Starc to carry on despite injury - Rod Marsh
Australian fast-bowler Mitchell Starc, who was selected for Australia's tour of Bangladesh, will carry on bowling despite carrying a chronic ankle injury that needs surgery.
Starc is suffering from bone spurs in his ankle and the treatment for it is surgery, which will keep the left-arm pacer out of action for about four months.
In the 2015 tour of the England, Starc played featured in every single international game except the fourth One-Day International against England in Leeds.
Australia's chair of selectors Rod Marsh revealed that it was their plan to have Starc lead the bowling attack until the 2016 World Twenty20 as there is still time left before the injury gets worse.
"My understanding of Starc is that he can keep going until it actually gets a hell of a lot worse, and then he will have to have an operation, rest won't help him," he said.
"He has got spurs in his ankle and there is a bit of bone that has broken off and floating and every now and then it gets into a position where it is just chronically painful.
"Eventually it is going to have to be removed but it will take another three or four months after the operation for him to be able to play again.
"We have got some pretty important cricket coming including the T20 World Cup and we would like to see Starc lead the attack for that... but if he can't, he can't.
“But at the moment the plan is for him to keep going.”
Cameron Bancroft, who was the third highest run-scorer in the 2014-15 Sheffield Shield season with 896 runs from 11 matches, was handed a maiden call-up to the Test side.
Bancroft’s exploits in last season’s Sheffield Shield were only bettered by veteran Western Australian batsmen Michael Klinger and Adam Voges.
Speaking about the selection of the uncapped Bancroft for the Bangladesh Tests, Marsh said that the selectors kept in mind his performances in the recent Australia A tour of India.
“He (Bancroft) was preferred because we are looking for a young player.
“He had a very good season last year.
“He got a very good 150 against a strong India A attack which contained two or three very good spinners.
“That in itself probably got him chosen ahead of some more senior players.”
Another uncapped player called up to the Test squad is fast bowler Andrew Fekete, who picked up 37 wickets from 10 games in the 2014-15 Sheffield Shield season – the most by any fast bowler.
Marsh opined that Fekete’s ability to bowl fast and generate reverse swing were some of the traits that got him selected.
“He sort of slipped under the guard with a lot of people but we’ve had our eye on him for a while.
“He took 37 first-class wickets in the Sheffield Shield competition last year, he bowled very well in India.
“He is able to bowl with a good pace, he is able to bowl around 140 kilometres.
“He can generate reverse swing when needs be and conditions suit and he is a pretty good bloke.”
Marsh was pleased that the selectors had the Australia A tour of India to see how the players tackled the spin friendly conditions of the subcontinent.
“Very pleased that we had an Australia A tour of India earlier in the year because that gave us a very good guideline as to guys that really wanted to put up their hand and get chosen.
“So, we’ve really taken that form into account.”
After suffering a defeat in the 2015 Ashes campaign in England, Marsh believes that Australia will have to prove their credentials once again by winning series away from home.
“We will take any wins – against Bangladesh, against Zimbabwe, against West Indies, we will take them all.
“That is what good sides do, they have got to win away from home.
“We have got to prove that we are a good side again.
“We were a good side.
“Are we a good side now - we have got to prove that we are and that means winning.”
In the absence of David Warner who is out with a thumb injury, the selectors have picked Voges to be the vice-captain of the side.
Explaining the rationale behind choosing Voges as the vice-captain, Marsh said that the 35–year-old’s experience as the captain of Western Australia will be crucial if Smith goes down with an injury or sickness.
“The fact that Voges has captained Western Australia, the fact that we are playing in Bangladesh and it is quite possible to wake up in the morning and not be able to play if you’ve caught something.
“There are tummy woes that go around probably more there than in Melbourne.
“If Steven Smith did get caught, it would have been tough to let anyone else captain the side but Voges.”
Meanwhile Cricket Australia Physiotherapist Alex Kountouris confirmed that Starc was given cortisone injections to treat the joints in ankle.
Even though Starc has suffered pain at times in England, Kountouris revealed that the recent scan of the 25-year-old's ankle showed no deterioration.
“During the recent Ashes Test and ODI series in the UK, there have been times when Mitchell has struggled and required cortisone injections to treat the inflammation within the joint.
"As part of his management, we have had regular MRI scans that have confirmed the presence of some bone spurs, that cause the inflamed joint.
"Pleasingly, the most recent scan did not show any significant deterioration despite the heavy playing schedule in the past 12 months and he has generally coped okay.
"We have also had specialist surgical opinion and advice so far is that surgery is not required at the moment."
Having played Bangladesh only four times in Tests, Australia have won all four times when the matches were played in two series in 2003 and 2005-06.
© Cricket World 2015