Paceman Kane Richardson has joined the packed Aussie casualty ward and won’t feature at all in the five-match ODI series against Sri Lanka, but Mitch Starc and Mitch Marsh will make their much-needed returns by the third match.
Replacing Richardson in the 50-over squad is fan favourite Scott Boland, although he is unlikely to play unless the Aussies are struck down by yet another injury.
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Cricket Australia confirmed on Monday afternoon (AEST) that Richardson suffered a “fairly severe” hamstring injury in the third T20 of Australia’s series with Sri Lanka last week.
Richardson will fly home to recover and put on a brave face so convincingly on Saturday that Finch had no idea he had injured himself.
“I wasn’t aware of (it) during the game the other day, so that was pretty big of him to be able to get through,” Finch said ahead of the first ODI, which takes place in Kandy on Tuesday.
Aussie selectors considered flying in a replacement for Richardson, who himself was only brought into the squad to cover for injuries.
Boland proved an easier option, however, given he was already in Sri Lanka for the upcoming Test series.
“We talked about getting Nathan Ellis over from the UK, but he’s missed a couple of County games with a groin injury,” Finch said.
“Riley Meredith, Wes Agar, they’re not up and running back at home yet.
“Scotty’s just coming in as a cover.”
Richardson is joined on the sidelines by Starc (finger) and Marsh (calf), both of whom are likely to return from injury for the third match of the ODI series on Sunday.
“(Marsh) and ‘Starcy’ are roughly about the same time, which will be potentially game two, but more than likely game three,” Finch said.
“It hasn’t been ideal with Mitch Marsh as an all-rounder going down with a bit of a calf (injury).
“(Starc) has still got some stitches in his hands, so he’s likely to be available for the third ODI.
“Unfortunately (his recovery) hasn’t been as quick as what we would have hoped. Being quite a significant injury to his bowling finger and not having been able to have any tape on it during the game or when he bowls, that’s just made it that little bit more difficult.”
Finch confirmed his XI to face Sri Lanka in the first ODI, with Alex Carey, Marnus Labuschagne and Pat Cummins the only players named who didn’t play in the T20I series.
Cummins missed the series to rest his troublesome hip ahead of the ODI and Test series and will be welcomed back with open arms.
“He’s very keen to go,” Finch said.
“He’s fresh and recharged after getting over that hip injury that had been lingering around for 12 or 14 months.
“For him to be able to have a good, solid recovery period and then a training block, he looks like he’s up and running.”
Finch said spinner Mitch Swepson was a chance to add to his two ODI caps when the tourists returned to Colombo from Sunday.
For the first two matches though, the Aussies are committed to using only one specialist spinner, Ashton Agar.
“We feel as though two out-and-out spinners probably won’t be required as much on this surface (in Kandy),” he said.
“But going to Colombo, that’ll definitely be considered.”
The Australian XI to face Sri Lanka in the first ODI is:
Aaron Finch (c)
Alex Carey (wk)