Starc out of first Test, Hobbled Healy named in World Cup squad, Hurricanes squeak past Stars

Mitchell Starc is aiming to be fit for the second Test against India in Delhi after confirming he expects to miss the series opener with a finger injury.

Starc’s middle finger of his left hand remains in a brace after he detached the tendon from the bone in the Boxing Day Test, leaving him unable to bowl.

The left-armer has been the second quick alongside Pat Cummins on Australia’s most recent Test tours in Asia, where he averages less than 30 with his reverse swing.

Starc also plays a crucial secondary role in Australia’s attack, creating footmarks for Nathan Lyon to spin the ball out of as he comes around the wicket.

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The 32-year-old was considered a 50-50 chance of playing the first Test in Nagpur on February 9, but concedes that is unlikely ahead of the four-match series.

Mitchell Starc of Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

“That’s probably likely (I will miss the first Test),” Starc told AAP at the launch of Amazon Prime’s The Test documentary.

“We’ll see how we’re placed at the end of the month.

“Hopefully I am there for the second Test if they want to play me. Maybe I can make some footmarks for Gazza (Lyon) or something. We’ll see how the finger is.”

Allrounder Cameron Green is also expected to join Starc on the sideline for the first Test, leaving Australia short of pace bowling back-up.

Nagpur has traditionally been regarded as a big-turning wicket, with Jason Krezja taking 12 wickets there on debut in 2008.

Green and Starc’s absence means Josh Hazlewood is almost certain to play his second Test in Asia since 2017, after he was overlooked for four of five matches in Sri Lanka and Pakistan last year.

Hazlewood impressed on his return from a side strain in Sydney last week, with his reverse swing a feature in both innings.

Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood of Australia await the result of a DRS Challenge. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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

“Getting four or five wickets on that wicket. Every time he bowled he looked threatening.”

Scott Boland could also come into contention as a third quick with Green out, given Travis Head and others can act as spinners but there are no part-time pace options.

But Cummins said he would have no workload concerns on going into Tests with two sole seamers in India.

“Over there, 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.”

Healy set to return at World Cup

Alyssa Healy will be fit to play in Australia’s Twenty20 World Cup defence, with selectors naming her vice-captain of a 15-strong squad and backing her to return this month.

Healy has not played since injuring her calf last month in India, and has already been ruled out of next week’s one-day series against Pakistan.

But officials are now confident she will be fit to feature in three T20 matches against Pakistan from January 24, ahead of February’s World Cup in South Africa.

Healy is vice-captain of the 15-player squad announced for both series, with Meg Lanning having previously confirmed she would return to the top job on her comeback from personal leave.

Georgia Wareham is the biggest surprise selection, rushed back into the squad after returning from a 14-month injury lay-off last week.

The Victorian ruptured her ACL in a WBBL game in October 2021, but was part of Australia’s T20 World Cup triumphs in 2018 and 2020.

She will join Alana King as one of two legpinners in the squad, with finger-spinner Jess Jonassen also back from a hamstring injury.

“Seeing Meg and Georgia back in action for Victoria has been exciting,” head selector Shawn Flegler said.

“Both bring a wealth of experience to the group, which is always crucial during major tournaments.

“Georgia in particular, has had a tough run of injuries, but she’s shown a great deal of resilience and her return is a real boost for the side.

“Alyssa and Jess are expected to be fully fit and firing after minor injuries as well, so we’ve got a full-strength squad.”

Wareham’s return means fellow spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington is omitted, while youngster Phoebe Litchfield is the blink to make way for Lanning.

Alyssa Healy of Australia bats while Sidra Nawaz of Pakistan loduring the 2022 ICC Women's Cricket World Cup match between Australia and Pakistan at Bay Oval on March 08, 2022 in Tauranga, New Zealand.  (Photo by Hannah Peters-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

Alyssa Healy. (Photo by Hannah Peters-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

The biggest surprise omission is Nicola Carey.

A mainstay of Australia’s squad since 2018, the Hobart Hurricanes allrounder played in the 2020 T20 World Cup final but has failed to lock down a consistent role since.

Instead, selectors have opted to keep former Irish seamer Kim Garth and all-rounder Heather Graham in the 15-player group. Both debuted in India last month.

“It’s always tough to narrow a squad down to just 15 players,” Flegler said.

“Unfortunately, there was no room for Nicola, Phoebe or Amanda-Jade, but they’re still well and truly in our plans and are on standby should they be required.”

Australia play Pakistan in Sydney, Hobart and Canberra before their World Cup opener against New Zealand in Paarl on February 12.

AUSTRALIA T20 WORLD CUP SQUAD: Meg Lanning (capt), Alyssa Healy, Darcie Brown, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Heather Graham, Grace Harris, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham.

Hurricanes starting to click: Ellis

Stand-in Hobart Hurricanes captain Nathan Ellis is convinced his talented but erratic BBL side is finally beginning to click, despite suffering a horrendous batting collapse in their two-wicket win over Melbourne Stars on Monday.

Chasing just 132 at Blundstone Arena, the Hurricanes were cruising at 1-94 after 11 overs, but then lost 7-35.

An inside-edged boundary from Ellis got Hobart home with 14 balls to spare and the win lifted them level on points with fifth-placed Adelaide Strikers, who are above them on net run rate.

Hobart were highly fancied to do well In the tournament but prior to Monday’s match had won only three out of eight games.

They were coming off successive away defeats by the Strikers and Renegades, having lost the match to Adelaide despite scoring 229.

Ellis said the Hurricanes had yet to put together a full game.

“We’re all well aware of the star power we have in our batting line-up,” Ellis said. ‘We’ve had a couple of hiccups along the way predominantly with our fielding but we’re waiting to have that game where we put in a full performance.

“You probably don’t even want to do that at the start of the tournament, you want to be doing that at the back end when the whips are cracking. So whilst disappointed in the end tonight, I think its really exciting moving forward that things are starting to click.”

Former Australian batter Mark Waugh said the Hurricanes have got a lot of improvement left.

Ellis was standing in as captain for Matthew Wade, who missed Monday’s game for personal reasons.

“A bit of a sleepless night last night trying to figure it all out, but it sort of helps when your bowlers are taking wickets and you are bowling really well,” Ellis said.

His captaincy effort was praised by Australian multi-format batting star David Warner. “He actually captained very well, I reckon his bowling changes were exceptional,” Warner said on Fox Cricket. “He brought himself on when he needed to.”

Wade apart, the Hurricanes also have emerging wrist-spinner Patrick Dooley to come back from injury. The last-placed Stars were without Marcus Stoinis but its believed his low grade hamstring issue won’t keep him out for much longer.

Hilton Cartwright (57 off 47) played a lone hand for the Stars, who were short of firepower with Stoinis injured and Trent Boult having left the outfit.

Cartwright struck six fours in the space of nine balls, but the boundaries dried up with none coming for almost eight overs, with the Stars scoring just nine off their two Surge overs.

Teen stars as Pakistan polish off Kiwis

New Zealand have lost the opening one-day international against Pakistan in Karachi after their batting was undone by teenage fast bowler Nassem Shah.

The 19-year-old took 5-57 as New Zealand, having been put into bat, were restricted to 9-255 on Monday.

Mohammad Rizwan (77 off 86 balls), skipper Babar Azam (66 off 82) and opener Fakhar Zaman (56 off 74) then made half-centuries as Pakistan chased down the target with 11 balls to spare, finishing on 4-258.

New Zealand couldn’t convert good starts on a slow pitch against disciplined bowling by debutant legspinner Usama Mir (2-42) and Mohammad Nawaz (1-38) in the middle overs.

Naseem dismissed opener Devon Conway for a first-over duck off a full-pitched delivery and hard-hitting Finn Allen (29 off 27) fell to a spectacular Agha Salman diving catch at short extra cover.

Mir dismissed Kane Williamson (26 off 39) and Tom Latham (42 off 52) while Nawaz sent back Daryl Mitchell (36 off 55).

Even Glenn Phillips (37 off 53) was relatively subdued. Shah accounted for him, Michael Bracewell (43 off 42), Mitchell Santner (21 off 18) and Henry Shipley – for a first-ball duck, as the tourists struggled to get past 250.

“A good performance is fun only when the team wins. Everyone bowled well. It was reversing, and I just bowled to my strength,” Shah said.

Babar featured in half-century stands with Zaman and Rizwan before being stumped off part-time spinner Phillips.

Rizwan kept his cool and beat with cramps in the latter half of the run chase. Haris Sohail chipped in with a quick 32 before Salman, (13no), hit the winning runs with a six off Tim Southee.

The second ODI is on Wednesday followed by the last match on Friday.

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