Australia’s paceman, Mitchell Starc has been ruled out of the third T20I and the early part of the ODI series against Sri Lanka. Starc hurt his index finger during the first T20 international of the ongoing series. He suffered the injury in his first over itself, however, he still managed to complete his full quota of overs and finished with bowling figures of 3 for 26 in 4 overs. Australia won that game by 10 wickets.
Mitchell Starc didn’t play the next game and has now been ruled out of the third T20I as well. Jhye Richardson replaced the left-arm pacer in the second T20I and impressed one and all with his fast bowling exploits. He returned with bowling figures of 3 for 26, helping the team win the game by 7 wickets.
As per reports, it will take at least 7 days for Mitchell Starc to recover from the injury, meaning that he won’t be available for the first ODI. Jhye Richardson, who wasn’t earlier part of Australia’s ODI squad has been added as cover for the left-arm seamer. Mitchell Starc is a vital cog in Australia’s bowling unit and the management would want him to be fully fit before the start of the Test series. Notably, after the 5 ODIs, Australia are slated to play 2 Tests, beginning 29th June 2022.
Meanwhile, questions have been raised over Steve Smith’s poor form in T20 cricket. Smith has been enduring a lean patch in T20 cricket for the last two years. Since November 2019, he hasn’t hit a single fifty in the shortest format of the game. The former Australia captain averages 25.45 at a strike rate of 125.31 from 56 matches in T20Is. In the recently concluded 2nd T20I against Sri Lanka, he got out for 5 off 4 balls.
However, the team management believes in his abilities and is confident that the former Australian captain will unleash his full potential in the shortest format soon.
“Recent history, we’ve used (Smith) in a different way throughout our middle order, where people have batted around him,” Di Venuto said. “We know his skill level, we know his talent so we’re pretty keen to unlock him as a T20 cricketer and just let him go about his business and show us how good he is.
“If he was playing BBL cricket, he would dominate that competition. Unfortunately, a lot of our best players don’t play that competition because they play Test matches. Steven’s had good success in the IPL in years gone past.
The third T20 between Australia and Sri Lanka is slated to be played on 11th June at Pallekele.