- Sinchan Saha | February 20, 2023 | 11:49 am
After being ruled out of the final two Tests of the Border-Gavaskar series, Australia’s quick Josh Hazlewood will fly home. David Warner’s fitness for the remaining matches is also in question, and Australia is considering making additional roster changes after their disastrous loss in Delhi.
Josh Hazlewood was unable to participate in the first two Tests
In the first Test in Nagpur, Scott Boland took his place, and Australia chose three spinners and one pace bowler in Delhi. Warner, on the other hand, missed the Delhi Test due to a concussion, but he also sustained a hairline fracture in his left elbow from two separate blows while facing Mohammed Siraj of India.
Andrew McDonald, the coach of Australia, confirmed that Warner will be closely monitored in the coming days while Hazlewood will return home to continue his Achilles recovery. He might be able to play in the next two games, but the medical staff will decide.
“Josh Hazlewood out, he’ll be going home. [Warner]’s still sore at the moment. We had a meeting just before discussing through this. We’re in no rush to make any decisions at this point in time around Davey. Just seeing how that settles, how functional that is. It will be basically how sore and how functional it is as to what decision we make with him and then the length of the injury. There’s some talk the length of injury could be anywhere between a week plus depending how that settles down. There’s a bit of unknown there. I’ll leave that to the medical team and they’ll inform me once they know.”McDonald said on Monday.
Because Warner has nine days to recover before the third test, which should give him enough time to pass the necessary protocols, there are fewer concerns regarding his concussion.
Travis Head, who had a fantastic 43 in the second innings in Delhi, is likely to start in Indore if Warner’s elbow is not in good condition. Australia’s selection committee will have to make some difficult decisions if Warner is healthy.
“If Dave’s unavailable it would make perfect sense. We did discuss before coming over here that if we were to lose an opening batter that Trav would be one we’d look to put up there. We feel in the subcontinental conditions that he can get off to the fast starts which he showed. We don’t see [Head] as an opener in all conditions, more subcontinental and in other conditions back to the middle order.”McDonald said.
Between the second and third Tests, captain Pat Cummins flew home for family reasons, but he is expected to return to lead the team in Indore.
McDonald said that the team might make more changes, but they probably won’t fly anyone in unless Warner is ruled out. They have 18 players in Delhi and a 19th player, Mitchell Swepson, who might fly back for the third Test after going home before the second Test to have his first child.
Green, Starc expected to be fit for Indore Test
After coming very close to playing in Delhi, Cameron Green should be 100% fit for the Indore Test. He only missed because he was unsure if his broken finger had fully recovered.
“He was close. It’s building the confidence. He had the setback in Bangalore, a little setback batting in Bangalore where he had some jarring and there was a fair bit of discomfort in that finger. If he didn’t have that, I think the second Test was real. But it probably just delayed it those few days. And we contemplated him as a concussion sub as well. So that was another discussion. But we felt like if he wasn’t right to go at the start then what was a couple of days. We’re better off loading up for the third Test match and in a good frame of mind.”McDonald said.
Since he was available to play in Delhi, Mitchell Starc is also expected to be fit for the third Test. Starc did not play because, like Green, there was uncertainty regarding his recovery from a finger tendon injury and the decision to select three specialist spinners. McDonald acknowledged that India’s lower-order batting has been the difference in the series thus far, so Starc’s lower-order batting is also a factor.
McDonald was confident that Todd Murphy would be fully fit for Indore, despite having a side niggle as well. Between the second and third Tests, he will rest for a few days.
Agar, Morris might be sent home
Ashton Agar might be sent home to play Sheffield Shield and Marsh Cup cricket for Western Australia before the ODI series because he is no longer needed. Agar started the tour as the second-choice spinner and looked like he would play in Nagpur. However, despite Murphy and Matthew Kuhnemann making their debuts while Agar carried the drinks, he has struggled with confidence. Another player who could be sent home is Lance Morris, who was on tour as a backup fast bowler. After some success with three spinners in Delhi, Australia will not field three fast bowlers and Green as an all-rounder in the final two Tests. They may even field two specialist quicks.
McDonald confirmed there was a possibility that one or two players could return to Australia to play some domestic cricket if Green and Starc became available. He did not specifically mention Morris or Agar.
“We’re working through that. It won’t be form as such but there’s cricket going on back home. And with a few players now becoming fit and available, are we carrying too many? That’s probably a question. So we’ve got to be clear on what we want to achieve in the next two Test matches in terms of the structure of the team. Once we get our heads around that, there’s an opportunity for players to be playing cricket back home and we value that.”McDonald said
Maxwell unlikely to be called up for India Tests
McDonald was gotten some information about the chance of Glenn Maxwell being called up to the Test crew after he made his Sheffield Safeguard return for Victoria on Monday in Melbourne yet he smothered that possibility.
ALSO READ: Sheffield Shield: WATCH Glenn Maxwell gets dismissed in nine deliveries on return
“He’s played one game. What did he get, 5? He played club cricket and got 61. We’ll see how we go. We’ve got the one-day squad that we’ll announce, if he gets through everything that he needs to then he’ll be a starter for that one-day series. Anything forward of that will be discussed.”McDonald said