Injured Starc, Mitchell Marsh and Stoinis to miss India T20Is

Australia have adopted a cautious approach ahead of their men’s T20 World Cup title defence, with Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Marsh and Marcus Stoinis left out of the upcoming T20I tour of India with what have been termed “low-level injuries”.

While Marsh was ruled out of the second and third ODIs against Zimbabwe as well as the three ODIs against New Zealand because of an ankle injury, Stoinis picked up a side injury during the second ODI against New Zealand. And just ahead of the squad’s departure to India, Starc’s injured knee was added to the list.

When Marsh returned home, indications were that he would be available for the India tour, but it has been decided that with the travel involved in the short trip, the trio are better off staying home.

“Selectors felt with three games in six days across three cities – including travel to India and internally – Marsh, Stoinis and Starc are best served remaining in Australia to prepare for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup,” a CA statement said.

David Warner had already been rested from the tour, with Cameron Green given a chance in the T20I format, which means the team that plays in India will look rather different from Australia’s first-choice World Cup side should all the injuries clear up.

But Australia have another run of matches ahead of the tournament when they return home, with two against West Indies and three against England, before facing India again in a warm-up match in Brisbane.

Marsh has locked himself as the No. 3 following his outstanding form last year, including the match-winning performance in the T20 World Cup final, while Stoinis was a key part of the middle order and Starc a central figure in the bowling attack.

Stoinis’ absence opens up a spot for Tim David, the one new face in Australia’s T20 World Cup squad, to make his debut in India as he looks to force his way into the first XI for the tournament. If everyone is fit when the World Cup begins, it will need somebody from the title-winning side to be left out to accommodate David.

“One of the rare things he has which there isn’t a whole lot of in Australia is just raw power,” Glenn Maxwell said of David at the launch of Australia’s World Cup kit on Wednesday. “He’s able to muscle the ball, much in the same way Stoinis and Mitch Marsh do it. They are power-hitters, and he [also] has a lot of power.

“He’s probably developed his game a little bit over the last two years where he’s got a bit more off side, so he’s not a one-dimensional hitter; he’s able to clear the boundary in different areas. He does it against spin and quicks which is something that’s really impressive, and something that impressed me during the IPL as well [while] watching him go about his business.”

Other players who could now get an opportunity in India include Josh Inglis, a likely opener alongside the out-of-form Aaron Finch, and Green, who impressed during the recent matches against Zimbabwe and New Zealand. Green has so far played just 14 T20s across his career but recently confirmed a BBL deal with Perth Scorchers whenever he would be available this season.

Ellis, meanwhile, might have come close to a spot in the original squad after his impressive form in the T20 Blast and the Hundred but could not force his way past Kane Richardson. Abbott was outstanding when called into the ODI side for the last two matches against New Zealand, taking combined figures of 4 for 32 from 15 overs.

Sams, who has spent his off-season with Mumbai Indians, Essex and Trent Rockets, was a reserve for the last T20 World Cup alongside Ellis.

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