Starc doubtful for New Zealand tour - Rod Marsh
Plagued by a long standing ankle injury Starc picked up a stress fracture in his right foot which has ruled him out of the upcoming Tests against West Indies.
Starc will require a surgery to correct his ankle problem and Marsh wants to take no risks in rushing the 25-year-old back into the side.
Despite casting doubts about Starc's availability for the New Zealand series Marsh continues to hope that the left-arm pacer can lead Australia in the 2016 World Twenty20.
“It’s pretty hard being a humble selector becoming a doctor and telling people when to have surgery, so we don’t really get involved in that," Marsh said.
“In an ideal world once again we’d love to have Mitchell Starc playing against New Zealand in the Test series (in February) – I don’t think that will happen.
“In an ideal world we’d like to have him playing in the (T20) World Cup – it may happen.
“But if it’s two different lots of surgery then we mightn’t see much of Mitchell for a little while and we’ve got to think of the kid’s health and the medical people will always keep that in mind so he’ll be back when he’s back.”
After injuring his right foot in the third Test in Adelaide, Starc refused to give a timeline for his return and stated that he will take stock of the situation in a few weeks.
Australian team physiotherapist David Beakley revealed that the team management will consult with specialists in Sydney to clarify if Starc requires surgery right now for his ankle problems.
“Given that Mitchell now has a lay-off with his foot injury we will take this opportunity to meet with specialists in Sydney this week to get an opinion on whether or not surgery is required at this point in time for his ongoing ankle issues,” Beakley said.
“We will look to provide an update later in the week but at this stage we do not have confirmed timeframes for his return to play.”
With the retirements of Ryan Harris and Mitchell Johnson combined with the injury to Starc, Australia's pace bowling reserves will be put to a test in the summer.
Also adding to the problem is the increasing work load of Josh Hazlewood, who according to Marsh will be rested at some point of time in the summer.
Marsh made it clear that the board will observe the fitness of Hazlewood and make a decision about giving the 24-year-old a rest.
“It would be very difficult for Josh to get through six Test matches in a summer and then go to New Zealand and play two more and you’ve got to understand we’ve also got a one day series,” Marsh said.
“We’ll just see how he’s tracking.
“If he’s strong and he’s fit and it helps if you don’t have to play five day Test matches too.
“It really does.
“I think the last couple of days of a Test match can be quite difficult for a fast bowler if you’re bowling 60 plus overs in a Test.”
Australia have recently called up James Pattinson to fill in for the retired Mitchell Johnson while Nathan Coulter-Nile has been included in place of Starc for the upcoming Tests against West Indies.
Victoria's Scott Boland has also been named as a standby just in case any other bowler in the squad picks up yet another injury.
Despite the injury concerns Marsh is confident that Australia have an excellent bench strength to overcome the hurdles in a busy summer of cricket.
“I’ve said I don’t know how many times that we’ve got to have a battery of 10 fast bowlers,” Marsh said.
“And I know everyone out there looks at me as if I’m an idiot when I say that but I tell you what; we’ve got to have a battery of 10 fast bowlers and if we come up now with a good attack for this Test match – which I think we have – and for the following two Test matches, and the one after that and the one after that, we’ll have called on a lot of fast bowlers.
“That’s one thing I can promise you because they just don’t get through a lot of Test matches in a row.”
Australia will play three Test matches against West Indies between December and January after which they compete in a two-match series against New Zealand in February.
© Cricket World 2015