Australia left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc is back in contention for the opening day-night Test against India beginning December 17, opting to rejoin the team following compassionate leave.
Starc, the most prolific wicket-taker in the short history of pink-ball Test cricket with 42, missed the final two games of the Twenty20 series after an unspecified family illness.
But he will rejoin the team in Adelaide on Monday, giving him just two full days to prepare.
“Starc will fly from Sydney to Adelaide on Monday on the chartered flight that will carry fellow Test squad members Sean Abbott, Joe Burns, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris and Mitch Swepson [who are part of the Australia A squad in the warm-up match], along with India’s touring party,” cricket.com.au reported.
“We feel for Mitch at this difficult time and we’re happy he has taken time out to spend with his family,” said coach Justin Langer.
“We look forward to welcoming him back into the squad on Monday.”
Should Starc not feel ready to line up alongside Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins in Adelaide, James Pattinson and Michael Neser are in the squad and on standby.
Worries for Australia
Will Pucovski was Saturday ruled out of Australia’s first Test against India after failing to sufficiently recover from a concussion, with Marcus Harris called up as his replacement.
Pucovski had been expected to make his debut and open the innings in Adelaide alongside the out-of-form Joe Burns after David Warner was also officially ruled out with an injured adductor muscle.
But the 22-year-old, who whacked back-to-back double centuries in the Sheffield Shield this season, was struck on the helmet during a warm-up match between India A and Australia A during the week.
Due to his history of concussion injuries, selectors are taking no chances.
“Given the spate of injuries in recent weeks, we’re fortunate to be able to bring a player of Marcus’ calibre into the Test squad,” said National Selector Trevor Hohns.
“At the same time, we are disappointed for David and Will that they will not be available for the first Test.
“We have taken a conservative approach in managing Will since he sustained the concussion and hope he and David will be back to full health ahead of the Boxing Day Test.”
Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (c), Sean Abbott, Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson and Matthew Wade