NEW DELHI — Australia’s hopes of victory in its bitterly-fought series against India suffered a severe blow Friday when pace spearhead Mitchell Starc had to head home with a stress fracture to his right foot.
Team physio David Beakley said Starc felt pain in his right foot during Australia’s 75-run defeat in the second Test in Bangalore which has failed to subside since the match ended Tuesday.
“We made the decision to scan his foot in Bangalore this morning and unfortunately it has revealed a stress fracture,” Beakley said in a cricket Australia statement.
Starc, who is also one of the world’s leading all-rounders, would “return home to Australia to start his rehabilitation” and therefore “be unavailable for the remainder” of the four-match series, Beakley added.
Selectors would name a replacement “in due course”, the statement said.
The 27-year-old Starc is the second Australian to be ruled out of the series between the world’s top two sides after Mitchell Marsh had to return home following a deterioration of a long-running shoulder injury.
Ahead of the series, Indian captain Virat Kohli singled out Starc as the tourists’ dangerman, saying he “is a world-class bowler”.
“He has learnt the art of reverse swing and bowling with the old ball as well. It’s amazing to see, the way he has developed his skills,” Kohli added.
India withdraws protest as boards make peace
India has withdrawn an official protest about the actions of Australia captain Steve Smith in the second Test as the governing bodies of both countries moved to bring an end to the acrimony surrounding the ongoing four-match series.
The Board of Control for cricket in India (BCCI) had earlier registered a complaint to the International cricket Council (ICC) over Smith looking to the dressing room for guidance on whether to review an lbw decision during the Bengaluru match.
Despite the hosts winning the Test to level the series at 1-1 Tuesday, India skipper Virat Kohli alleged the tourists had indulged in the practice throughout the match, sparking a war of words in the media and a robust response from Australia.
The boards released a joint statement Friday saying the chief executives of both bodies had met in Mumbai Thursday and agreed to try and bring the focus “back to the game” ahead of next week’s third Test in Ranchi.
The statement said Smith, who blamed the incident on a “brain fade”, and Kohli, who was criticized in Australia for his aggression during the match, would meet to iron out their differences.
“BCCI will withdraw the complaint filed with ICC with an expectation that the two captains will meet prior to the Ranchi Test and commit to lead their teams by example and play the rest of the series in the right spirit …” it said.
India keeps Vijay, drops Pandya
Injured opening batsman Murali Vijay has kept his place in India’s squad for the final two Tests against Australia, while all-rounder Hardik Pandya drops out with a shoulder problem.
Selectors also resisted the urge to call up batsman Rohit Sharma and seamer Mohammed Shami, who have recovered from long-term shoulder and knee injuries respectively but are yet to prove their fitness over the course of a first-class match.
Squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Murali Vijay, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Karun Nair, Ashwin Ravichandran, Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Jayant Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Abhinav Mukund.
Australia splits selection panel
cricket Australia (CA) named Trevor Hohns as the full-time chairman of its National Selection Panel Friday, effecting a structural change to improve the rankings of the underperforming Twenty20 side.
Hohns, ex-captain Greg Chappell, former batsman Mark Waugh and head coach Darren Lehmann have all been retained as selectors.
Hohns, whose contracts runs until February, 2020, Chappell and Lehmann will select the squad for the Test and the 50-over formats while the coach and Waugh will form a two-member panel to choose the squads for the shortest Twenty20 format. — Agencies