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Australia left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc will play no part in the national team’s upcoming tour of Bangladesh as he has not fully recovered from a stress fracture in his foot.
Starc featured in Australia’s Champions Trophy campaign and took five wickets in three group stage matches at an average of 26.60.
With Australia failing to make it to the semi-finals, Starc underwent scans, where it was revealed that he still needed more time to let the injury heal.
As a result of Starc being sidelined, Australia have brought in James Pattinson as his replacement. Pattinson, whose career has been plagued by injuries, last played Test cricket back in February 2016.
“Mitchell was due to go for follow up scans after the Champions Trophy, as part of his recovery plan,” Australia physiotherapist David Beakley said. “These scans have indicated his previous stress fracture has still not fully healed to the extent we would like.
“He will now undertake a period of rest from bowling with the aim to have him return for the one-day series in India in late September as he begins his build up to the Ashes.”
Meanwhile, spinner Steve O’Keefe failed to make the cut despite having a lot of success in Australia’s last Test assignment in India. In the four Tests that were played, O’Keefe finished with 19 wickets at an average of 23.26.
But, the 32-year-old only took seven wickets in the last three Tests after registering career-best figures of 12-70 in the first Test in Pune.
Furthermore, in April, he was fined $20,000 and suspended for making “highly inappropriate comments” while intoxicated at the after-party of the Steve Waugh Medal presentation.
In his place, Australia have picked left-arm spinner Ashton Agar. All-rounder Hilton Cartwright, who made his Test debut against Pakistan in Sydney at the beginning of the year, also found a place in the side.
“Whilst Steve O’Keefe bowled well in Pune, he did not maintain this level in the remaining matches of the series and we believe the timing is right for Ashton to enter the set-up and test his all-rounder ability.” national selector Trevor Hohns said. “Ashton has continued to impress us with his form and we believe his bowling is at a level where he deserves to be playing on the highest stage. He will work nicely in tandem with Nathan Lyon and also brings a great all-round package to the team.
“Hilton averages nearly 60 [52.07] runs in first-class cricket and was the second highest run-scorer in the Sheffield Shield last season with 861 runs. He is a quality player who we believe has a big future for Australia and we are very keen to see him carry on his good form in the sub-continent.”
While the official schedule has yet to be announced, Cricket Australia revealed that the national team will touch down in Bangladesh on August 18 and play a two-day warm-up game in Fatullah four days later.
The two Tests against Bangladesh are set to take place in Dhaka on August 27 and Chittagong on September 4.
Australia were originally supposed to tour Bangladesh in 2015, but they called off the trip due to security concerns.
However, this time around, Cricket Australia are satisfied with the security measures in place, according to Pat Howard, who is the board’s executive general manager of team performance.
“The Bangladesh Cricket Board and the Bangladesh Government have provided satisfactory levels of assurance and security for this tour to proceed at this stage, and we’re very grateful to them for this,” Howard said. “We will continue to work with them to finalise plans but also monitor advice from government agencies and our own security advisors about the security risk.
“Our number one priority will always be the safety and security of our players and support staff when travelling to any country. Players selected for this tour will continue to receive regular security status updates prior to travelling.”
Australia’s Squad: Steven Smith (capt), David Warner (vice-capt), Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Matthew Wade (wk), Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, James Pattinson, Matt Renshaw