Australia in Bangladesh 2017 June 16, 2017

Injured Starc out of Bangladesh Tests, O'Keefe dropped


Steve O'Keefe was Australia's equal top wicket-taker on this year's tour of India but has now been axed for the series in Bangladesh © Associated Press

Mitchell Starc will miss Australia's Test tour of Bangladesh in August due to injury, while left-arm spinner Steve O'Keefe has been axed despite bowling Australia to victory with a 12-wicket haul against India in Pune earlier this year. Ashton Agar has been included as the second spinner alongside Nathan Lyon, with Jon Holland overlooked after piling up 50 Sheffield Shield wickets at 20.78 last summer.

Allrounder Hilton Cartwright has been named in the 13-man squad and has the chance to add to the one Test cap he earned during Australia's home summer, while Usman Khawaja has been included after being overlooked for all four Tests in India. In the absence of Starc, Australia's pace attack will be made up of Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and James Pattinson, although a fourth fast bowler is set to be added after Australia A's tour of South Africa.

"Mitchell was due to go for follow up scans after the Champions Trophy, as part of his recovery plan," David Beakley, Australia's team physio, 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."

The omission of O'Keefe is a rapid fall for the left-arm spinner, who claimed 6 for 35 in each innings in Pune in February, and finished the series as Australia's equal leading wicket-taker despite his impact diminishing as the tour wore on. Then in April, O'Keefe was fined and suspended by New South Wales for what were described as "highly inappropriate comments" at a Cricket NSW function.

"Whilst Steve O'Keefe bowled well in Pune," national selector Trevor Hohns said, "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 allrounder ability.

"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."

Although the tour schedule had not been officially announced, Cricket Australia said in releasing the squad details that the team would arrive in Bangladesh on August 18 and play a two-day tour game in Fatullah from August 22. The two Tests are set for August 27 in Dhaka and September 4 in Chittagong.

Australia were supposed to tour Bangladesh in 2015 but after advice from the Federal Government, Cricket Australia announced the tour had been postponed due to security concerns. Pat Howard, Cricket Australia's executive general manager of team performance, said CA was currently satisfied with the security arrangements for the trip.

"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."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

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  • RedDirt on June 20, 2017, 12:15 GMT

    ALTAFPATEL ON JUNE 19, 2017, 10:25 GMT - agree. But spin bowling is India's counter to the dominance we held over them.

  • RedDirt on June 20, 2017, 11:52 GMT

    "DUNGER.BOB ON JUNE 16, 2017, 22:07 GMT Bangladesh in Bangladesh won't be an easy task. It wasn't for England and it won't be for us. " Are you serious? What odds are you offering?

  • BRADMANBESTEVER on June 20, 2017, 3:12 GMT

    We still see a few scattered supporters still waving the S Marsh flag.

    The 34 year old has played 23 matches, batted in 42 innings, made 4 tons, 7 50s and has an average of 36.00. Why is it a good idea to select a guy with these numbers?

  • niazbhi on June 19, 2017, 16:26 GMT

    Australia will probably come a lot more prepared . Lyon and australian quicks might catch Bangladesh with surprise. Bangladesh has to find one more bowling weapon other than Miraz, Mustafiz and Sakib.

  • smudgeon on June 19, 2017, 12:06 GMT

    DAVEOTASMANIA, I would assume there isn't a backup named for Hazelwood as he's a lot more, er, "durable" than the other quicks! It mentions in the article that another quick will be added following the SA "A" tour, so there's an opportunity for Bird to make a strong case for selection, alongside Sayers, Tremain and Behrendorff. I feel a bit for Bird, he's long-been an after-thought in the minds of the selectors, but at the same time, I get why Cummins and Pattinson are ahead of him in the queue: speed, aggression, and swing are handy tools in most circumstances. A shame that dependability, line and length, and durability are somewhat undervalued.

  • AltafPatel on June 19, 2017, 10:25 GMT

    Aus overestimating Agar. He will be grounded like Mitchel Marsh.

  • AltafPatel on June 19, 2017, 10:24 GMT

    @CRICFAN43358910 ok, 'super cricket statisian'. But do you accept Okeefe gave Aus first test win in India, since 2004 ?

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on June 19, 2017, 6:55 GMT

    BD has yet to win anything agnst Aussies -at their home or away in Aus so far. In fact the Aussies have a 'perfect' recd agnst them in tests. Don't see history changing any bit. Its going to be a walk in the park for Smith's men-winning each and every game by handsome margins. Maybe,the absence of the big strike bowler for Aussies,may allow BD some hope of a fight...

  • Chris_P on June 19, 2017, 1:13 GMT

    @AKS286 . He is far from being a good sub continent batsman, well and truly overstayed his welcome in the team. His awful performances in India plus his ongoing issues with spin ended his claim. Thankfully, the last time he is ever mentioned for national selection, his time there was both painful and undeserved. @DAVEOTASMANIA While I admire your loyalty to him, his performances are nowhere near good enough for further consideration. I have seen him struggle in Australia on spinning decks. He has had a charmed run, no way is he deserving of a spot ahead of so many other more deserving players.

  • JAH123 on June 19, 2017, 0:55 GMT

    So: Warner Renshaw Khawaja Smith Handscomb Maxwell/Cartwright Wade Pattinson/Agar Cummins Lyon Hazlewood

    Not bad, all things considered. I'd still like to see Agar actually perform consistently in the Shield before he gets picked. Swepson and Holland are unlucky.

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