Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis and Mitch Marsh sidelined for T20 World Cup warmups in India
Injuries forced three key members of Australia’s upcoming Twenty20 World Cup title defense to withdraw from the three-game streak with India, starting Tuesday.
Mitchell Starc (knee), Marcus Stoinis (lateral) and Mitch Marsh (ankle) will not travel to the subcontinent and have been replaced in pink by Nathan Ellis, Daniel Sams and Sean Abbott.
The injured trio will stay in Australia to prepare for the home World Cup, which begins next month.
Australian handyman Glenn Maxwell, meanwhile, backed Aaron Finch to return to batting form before then, with the Indian series as the skipper’s platform.
Finch retired from cricket at the age of 50 last Sunday after a decline in form, failing to break the double digits in his last six ODI innings.
“He’s definitely going to love having those games in India, he loves hitting there,” Maxwell told reporters Wednesday at the First Nations World Cup kit launch.
Finch remains captain of the T20 team amid uncertainty about who will take on the role of ODI skipper.
Test captain Pat Cummins said it would be unrealistic for him to serve as a full-time ODI, while David Warner has signaled his interest, pending the lifting of his lifetime coaching ban.
While his ODI form has plummeted, Finch averages 30.87 in the T20s at the top of the order this year and Maxwell emphasized his value as a skipper.
“Once he got on the pitch and took control of the team, he was able to concentrate very well on the work at hand and that’s his credit,” Maxwell said.
“Obviously it wasn’t the easiest time for him in day cricket, but his attitude never changed.
“He was brilliant with the strategic side. This is a very underrated thing in T20.
“Don’t underestimate his worth as a captain.”
Spearhead of fast bowling Starc said it would be difficult to win two consecutive T20 World Cup titles, but he is confident in Australia’s chances.
“We have a very similar team to the one that won 12 months ago,” he said.
“Playing in Australia will be a big part of that, playing in front of our local fans, family and friends, which also comes with that extra pressure.”