Mitchell Starc Likely To Miss First Test For Australia Against India

Injured Australian pace bowler Mitchell Starc has indicated he will most certainly miss the opening Test of the Border-Gavaskar series against India at Nagpur from February 9, saying he should be available from the second Test onwards. Starc suffered an injury on the opening day of the Boxing day Test against South Africa, hurting the finger of his bowling arm while attempting a catch. The 32-year-old Starc was diagnosed with a detached tendon in the middle finger and missed the third and final Test against the Proteas at Sydney.

“That’s probably likely (I will miss the first Test). We’ll see how we’re placed at the end of the month,” Starc was quoted as saying by Australian Associated Press on Monday.

“Hopefully I am there for the second Test if they want to play me. We’ll see how the finger is.” With all-rounder Cameron Green also not a certainty for the opening Test due to a fractured finger he suffered during the MCG game after being hit by an Anrich Nortje bouncer, Australia are left short of pace bowling back-up.

However, Josh Hazlewood will most likely play the Nagpur game — his second Test in Asia since 2017.

Hazlewood was in fine form during the third Test against the Proteas in Sydney where he claimed four first-innings wickets, forcing the tourists to follow on. But weather played spoilsport and the match ended in a draw.

Test skipper Pat Cummins too gave his verdict on Hazlewood, saying he is a certainty for the Nagpur Test.

“No qualms picking (Hazlewood), you know what you’re going to get and it is quality,” said Cummins on Monday.

“Getting four or five wickets on that (Sydney) wicket. Every time he (Hazlewood) bowled he looked threatening.” Last year’s Ashes hero Scott Boland too could be in contention for a possible third pacer’s slot with Green too doubtful. But Cummins said there would be no pressure to include three quicks, as Travis Head has given him a new option with handy off-spin during the Sydney Test.

“Over there (India), you pick two spinners. You think it is going to be quite a spinning wicket,” Cummins said.

“Travis Head, Marnus (Labuschagne), Smudge (Steve Smith). They all come into it a bit more. Generally if you’re picking two spinners you’re not expecting it to be a long game,” added Cummins.

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