Australia have been dealt a double-injury blow with James Faulkner and Shaun Marsh ruled out of the Qantas Tour of South Africa today.
Faulkner sustained a calf injury while the Australians trained on Thursday, while Marsh has failed to recover from the broken finger that saw him sent home from Sri Lanka during the limited-overs series last month.
Queensland batsman Usman Khawaja has been drafted in a cover for Marsh, while no replacement was named for the Tasmanian.
“Shaun undertook a follow up x-ray and was reviewed by specialists this week,” said Bupa Support Team physiotherapist David Beakley
“Unfortunately due to the fracture being in the joint of the finger we have decided to take a more conservative approach, therefore he will not be available for the ODI Series in South Africa.
“James suffered a low grade calf strain during a fitness session in Sydney today which we expect to take 3-4 weeks to recover. Unfortunately this means he will also be unavailable for the South Africa Series.”
The pair wasn’t the only injury concern for Australia on Thursday, with fast bowler Mitchell Starc sustaining a gash in his left knee during a training mishap at Hurstville.
Starc was treated by Bupa Support staff immediately after the incident and taken to St George Hospital by ambulance.
Cricket Australia is expected to provide an update regarding his condition and treatment in the near future.
Faulkner starred with the ball for Australia in their 4-1 one-day international series win over Sri Lanka, taking 10 wickets at 19.60.
The left-armer also became just the sixth Australian to take an ODI hat-trick when he knocked over Kusal Perera, Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera in the second match in Colombo.
It means Australia will be without their three highest-ranked ODI bowlers for their lone match against Ireland and five clashes against the Proteas, with Mitchell Starc (No.3 in the world) and Josh Hazlewood (17) being rested from the series, joining Faulkner (18) on home soil.
While Faulkner’s injury is still fresh, Marsh sustained the break to his left little finger in the field in the first ODI against Sri Lanka in Colombo.
An x-ray following the match confirmed the break, sending the left-hander back to Perth and opening the door for Khawaja, who now gets that opportunity again.
The pair has been trading places in and out of Australia’s top order for the past six months.
When Khawaja missed the inaugural day-night Test and the succeeding fixture against the West Indies in Hobart, Marsh starred as his replacement, scoring a crucial 49 against New Zealand at the Adelaide Oval and 182 at Bellerive Oval.
Fully recovered, Khawaja returned at the expense of Marsh, vindicating the selectors’ difficult decision with a century in the Boxing Day Test.
But two poor Tests against Sri Lanka forced the selectors’ hands – Khawaja was dropped and Marsh recalled.
The 33-year-old again cashed in upon his return to the Test XI, posting 130 in the first innings to go with his maiden Test century against the same opponents five years earlier.
Australia ODI squad:
Steve Smith (C), David Warner (VC), George Bailey, Scott Boland, Aaron Finch, John Hastings, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Marsh, Joe Mennie, Chris Tremain, Matthew Wade, Daniel Worrall, Adam Zampa.
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