Australia is confident Mitchell Starc will be fit for the Sri Lanka Test series, but have added Jhye Richardson to their one-day international squad in the meantime, with the left-armer’s damaged finger to sideline him for upcoming white-ball matches.
Nathan McAndrew will join the Australia A squad as cover for Richardson, who has been promoted to the ODI group having originally earnt selection only for the T20 leg of the all-format tour.
Starc suffered the unusual injury during the opening over of the first T20I on Tuesday in Colombo when he sliced his index finger on a spike from his bowling shoe.
While the paceman bravely bowled out his four overs in that match with his lacerated finger taped up, he has since had six stitches inserted. He was only permitted to bowl with the tape on his finger in that initial game because he suffered the blow during the match.
Starc could recover in time for the back-end of the ODI series, which gets underway in Kandy on Tuesday, and Cricket Australia is confident he will be in no doubt for the ensuing two-Test campaign in Galle.
“(He) will continue to train with the squad in Sri Lanka and potentially return during the ODI Series. His recovery time is unspecified but anticipated to be a minimum of seven days,” CA said in a statement.
“It was a strange one,” Josh Hazlewood told cricket.com.au of Starc’s injury. “Once his left leg came back through, he clipped it on the spike, so he’s got a little cut on his bowling finger.
Added David Warner: “It was a crazy thing to come back out and finish his spell and take three wickets as well.”
It marks the second finger injury to a fast bowler on the tour, with Sean Abbott heading home after fracturing a digit after being struck by a net bowler while batting in practice.
With 195 wickets from 99 games, Starc is on the verge of breaking Saqlain Mushtaq’s record as the fastest bowler to 200 ODI wickets.
The Aussies had planned on rotating their fast bowlers through the five-game one-day series, which begins in Kandy for the first two matches before the final three games at the R.Premadasa Stadium in the nation’s capital.
Starc will not feature in the final, dead-rubber T20I at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, on Sunday.
“Once the one-dayers start it’s going to be tough to play all five, we’re in hot conditions and the games are back-to-back all the way through and two Tests at the end,” said Hazlewood.
“We’ve got a number of quicks we can rotate through and I know spin will play a heavy part.”
McAndrew, a fast bowler from Wollongong who crossed to South Australia last season, has been rewarded for being the Sheffield Shield’s second-most prolific wicket taker last season (with 27 at 30) while also adding 227 runs.
The 28-year-old will arrive in Sri Lanka from the United Kingdom, where he has been playing as Warwickshire’s overseas player.
Richardson impressed in Wednesday’s second low-scoring T20I, snaring three wickets and playing a measured hand with the bat from No.9, supporting Matthew Wade in a 27-run partnership to seal the series.
The whippy right-armer has hardly put a foot wrong at international level – he took a match-winning five-wicket haul in his only Test of the recent Ashes summer in Adelaide – but has struggled with a variety of injuries.
Competition for Test fast-bowling spots is strong, with both Josh Hazlewood and Scott Boland currently out of the side.
Speaking on cricket.com.au‘s Unplayable Podcast earlier this month, Richardson had been looking to proving his fitness for red-ball cricket in the Australia A four-day games in Sri Lanka, which he could still feature in despite his addition to the ODI squad.
“It’s a great (re)introduction for me,” he said. “This period I’ve had over the last couple of months of building up and bowling a lot of balls, it just looks like the next step of progressing with this conditioning block.
“I do love long-format cricket, so it’s just another step to getting back from my hamstring and getting back to playing good consistent cricket.
“I think it is (as hard as ever to win a Test fast-bowing spot), especially with Scott doing as well as he did. He’s another great option. While it is hard to crack in and get a consistent spot, it’s a wonderful problem for Australia to have.”
Qantas Tour of Sri Lanka, 2022
Sri Lanka T20 squad: Dasun Shanaka (c), Pathum Nissanka, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Nuwanidu Fernando, Lahiru Madushanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Kasun Rajitha, Nuwan Thushara, Matheesha Pathirana, Ramesh Mendis, Maheesh Theekshana, Praveen Jayawickrama, Lakshan Sandakan. Standby: Jeffrey Vandersay, Niroshan Dickwella
Australia T20 squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner, Matthew Wade
June 7: Australia won by 10 wickets
June 8: Australia won by three wickets
June 11: Third T20, Kandy, 11.30pm AEST
Sri Lanka ODI squad (provisional): Dasun Shanaka (c), Danushka Gunathilaka, Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dhananjaya De Silva, Ashen Bandara, Dinesh Chandimal, Niroshan Dickwella, Janith Liyanage, Dunith Wellalage, Dhananjaya Lakshan, Sahan Arachchi, Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Lahiru Madushanka, Ramesh Mendis, Dushmantha Chameera, Binura Fernando, Dilshan Madushanka, Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha, Jeffrey Vandersay, Maheesh Theekshana, Praveen Jayawickrama
Australia ODI squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner
June 14: First ODI, Kandy, 7pm AEST
June 16: Second ODI, Kandy, 7pm AEST
June 19: Third ODI, Colombo, 7pm AEST
June 21: Fourth ODI, Colombo, 7pm AEST
June 24: Fifth ODI, Colombo, 7pm AEST
Sri Lanka Test squad (provisional): Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Pathum Nissanka, Kamil Mishara, Oshada Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya De Silva, Kamindu Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella, Dinesh Chandimal, Chamika Karunaratne, Ramesh Mendis, Mohamed Shiraz, Shiran Fernando, Dilshan Madushanka, Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha, Vishwa Fernando, Asitha Fernando, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lakshitha Rasanjana, Praveen Jayawickrama, Lasith Embuldeniya, Suminda Lakshan
Australia Test squad: Pat Cummins (c), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner
June 29 – July 3: First Test, Galle, 2.30pm AEST
July 8-12: Second Test, Galle, 2.30pm AEST
Australia A fixtures
Australia A squad: Scott Boland, Aaron Hardie, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Henry Hunt, Josh Inglis, Matthew Kuhnemann, Nic Maddinson, Todd Murphy, Jimmy Peirson, Josh Philippe, Matt Renshaw, Jhye Richardson, Tanveer Sangha, Mark Steketee
Sri Lanka A one-day squad: Dhananjaya de Silva (c), Niroshan Dickwella, Lahiru Udara, Lasith Croospulle, Oshada Fernando, Pabasara Waduge, Kamindu Mendis, Ashen Bandara, Janitha Liyanage, Sahan Arachchi, Pulina Tharanga, Dunith Wellalage, Dananjaya Lakshan, Shiran Fernando (will not play due to injury), Dilshan Madushanka, Pramod Madushan, Nishan Madushka, Ashen Daniel,Nisala Tharaka
June 8: Australia A won by seven wickets
June 10: Second one-day game v Sri Lanka A, Colombo
June 14-17: first-class tour match v Sri Lanka A, Hambantota
June 21-24: first-class tour match v Sri Lanka A, Hambantota