Pace spearhead Mitchell Starc was on Thursday (7) ruled out of Australia’s Twenty20 and one-day tour of India with a “substantial” muscle tear, joining fellow quick bowler Josh Hazlewood on the sidelines.
Australia play two T20s and five ODIs against the Indians from later this month as part of an important build-up to their World Cup title defence in England this year.
But they will be doing so with a depleted attack.
Starc, man-of-the-match after collecting 10 wickets in the second Test against Sri Lanka in Canberra this week, will miss the series.
Hazlewood remains sidelined as he recovers from a back injury picked up in Australia’s Test series loss to India.
“Unfortunately, scans have revealed that Mitchell Starc sustained a substantial tear to his left pec muscle while bowling on the final day of the Test match in Canberra,” said national selector Trevor Hohns.
“This means he will be unavailable for the tour of India, but we will instead target a return to play for the ODI series against Pakistan in the UAE in March.”
Eleven of the 14 players that took on Virat Kohli’s men in a recent one-day series loss in Australia have been retained.
But veteran seamer Peter Siddle, fast bowler Billy Stanlake and allrounder Marsh were dropped, which has opened the door for pacemen Kane Richardson and Nathan Coulter-Nile, and hard-hitting batsman Ashton Turner.
“Kane has been in outstanding form over the summer, including his recent performances in the Big Bash League,” said Hohns.
“Kane not only has experience playing ODI cricket for Australia, but he’s also performed well for his country when given the opportunity.
“Nathan Coulter-Nile provides us with another quality bowling option,” he added.
“He brings good energy in the field and can also score runs in high-pressure situations.”
Hohns added that Western Australia’s Turner had been on his radar for some time and he now “has an opportunity to put his case forward ahead of the World Cup”.
With Hazlewood out, Pat Cummins was named co-vice captain alongside Alex Carey. Aaron Finch remains skipper.
Opener D’Arcy Short was included as cover for Shaun Marsh as he recovers from a hamstring injury. Short is expected to play in the two T20s with Marsh joining the squad following the birth of his second child.
“With the World Cup on the horizon, we see the ODI tours of India and the following tour against Pakistan as important windows for the squad to continue their preparations for our title defence,” said Hohns.
“We were really pleased with the progress we made during the recent ODI series against India, and we feel the progress is reflected in the squad selection, with only a couple of changes.”
The squad for the Pakistan series, that immediately follows India, will be named later with the possibility that Steve Smith and David Warner may be considered for the latter part once their bans for ball-tampering expire on March 29.
Aaron Finch (capt), Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Ashton Turner, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Lyon, Adam Zampa, D’Arcy Short.