Injured quick Mitchell Starc has been ruled out of the upcoming Qantas ODI tour against Pakistan, while suspended batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner have also not been picked and will look to make their international returns at the World Cup later this year.
Australia today named an unchanged squad from the original 15-man group that travelled to India last month, with right-arm fast bowler Kane Richardson set to return for the five-match series in the UAE despite a recent side injury.
Australia squad: Aaron Finch (c), Alex Carey (vc), Pat Cummins (vc), Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Peter Handscomb, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Adam Zampa
Starc hurt his left pectoral muscle bowling in the second Domain Test against Sri Lanka in Canberra a month ago, where he averaged 150kph in a 10-wicket, player-of-the-match performance.
He was hopeful of making a comeback in the UAE, but a recurrence of the injury has ruled him out of the series. All efforts will now be made to have the left-armer ready for the World Cup, which starts in less than three months.
Smith and Warner have also been overlooked despite being eligible to be play in the final two matches of the series.
The pair’s 12-month suspensions for their roles in the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal end on March 28, one day before the fourth ODI in Dubai, with the fifth match to be played on March 31.
Like Starc, Smith and Warner are on the comeback trail from injury – both players suffered elbow injuries in the Bangladesh Premier League that required surgery – but have resumed batting and look set to be fit for the start of the Indian Premier League on March 23.
National Selection Panel chairman Trevor Hohns said returning through the IPL was deemed the optimal route for the country’s two premier batsmen to prepare for the World Cup.
“After consultation with members of the National Selection Panel, Greg Chappell and Head Coach Justin Langer, Interim EGM Team Performance Belinda Clark, CA Medical Team and both players, it has been agreed Steve Smith and David Warner will not be available for selection for the final two matches of the series against Pakistan,” Hohns said in a statement.
“While their bans will be finished on March 28, Steve and David have been working through rehabilitation from elbow surgery and it has been agreed the best pathway for them to return to play is in the Indian Premier League, a strong competition which features some of the world’s best players.”
Australia enter today’s third ODI in Ranchi staring at a 2-0 series deficit and must win the final three matches of the series to take home the silverware.
Despite the mixed results on this tour – Australia swept the preceding T20I series 2-0 – Hohns and his panel have been encouraged by their performances and have decided against breaking up the group for the UAE tour.