Australia news January 26, 2014

Australia fret over Bird back injury


Jackson Bird will enter the South Africa tour under something of a fitness cloud after he was pulled out of a warm-up appearance due to a back complaint, with James Pattinson now taking up his spot in the Western Australia second XI team for the first two days of the fixture against the Queensland Academy in Brisbane.

In an alarming development for Australia's tour plans, Bird jarred his back while fielding in his most recent Big Bash League appearance for the Melbourne Stars against Hobart Hurricanes on Tuesday, and has been undergoing treatment since.

It has now been decided that Bird should not bowl in the Futures League match on Monday, opening the way for Pattinson to play on the first two days after he was not selected for the fifth and final ODI against England at Adelaide Oval on Australia Day.

"Jackson Bird jarred his back whilst diving in the field for the Melbourne Stars on Tuesday night which has resulted in some back soreness," the Australian team physio Alex Kountouris said. "As such, he has been withdrawn from the second XI fixture whilst he receives treatment ahead of his departure for South Africa."

Bird has spent most of this summer recovering from a back injury he sustained in the fourth Ashes Test in Durham during the England tour, his only appearance in the back-to-back series. His action was remodeled under the guidance of the Test bowling coach Craig McDermott, before he put in a string of encouraging displays in the BBL.

The majority of the Australian Test squad departs for South Africa on Wednesday.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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  • Scott on January 27, 2014, 18:09 GMT

    @izzidole, no Faulkner won't replace Watson, as Faulkner can not bat in the top 6 and doesn't even do so for his shield team let alone try in test match cricket! Faulkner is NOT one of the best 6 batsmen in Australia and shouldn't bat there. If Faulkner is selected it should be as a bowler, batting at 8 after Haddin at 7. In that case, Faulkner isn't one of our best 3 bowlers, so shouldn't be selected there either. There's absolutely no reason to think that Faulkner will cut it as a batsman in test cricket when Bailey, who had a far superior ODI year (and is a far better batsman than Faulkner), struggled so much at 6. Why would a bowler who can slog it at the death of an ODI do any better? He won't...

  • Izmi on January 27, 2014, 12:27 GMT

    Injuries to James Faulkner and Jackson Bird just before the test series against South Africa is a very big blow to our chances of winning the three match series in South Africa while injury to Marsh could be a blessing in disguise. As I commented last week in cricinfo Marsh is prone to injury and wouldn't last the whole tour and Phil Hughes would eventually take his place in the team any moment. Marsh is a fine batsman but has failed to establish his place in the test team due to poor form and injury concerns. James Faulkner is a fine allrounder and very soon could replace Shane Watson in the team who constantly keeps failing with the bat and is also injury prone. Jackson Bird has been bowling very well in the BBL lately and should have been rested for the South Africa tour.

  • Guy on January 27, 2014, 10:17 GMT

    @wix99, Coulter-Nile would be next in line, having been in the Test squad for much of the Ashes and performing respectably in the ODIs. @pat_one_back, agreed that Pattinson is short of a gallop, personally I would have preferred he eased back into his return in the Shield and Bollinger or Coulter-Nile went in his place. PS: what are you referring to with the 145km/h left arm throat balls? Cummins is a right armer and I don't recall him bowling throat balls...

  • Trevor on January 27, 2014, 6:32 GMT

    @VivGilchrist - agreed Aussie selectors are off their rockers selecting players for test matches because they 'look good' in the shorter formats. Ridiculous. Inverarity is the guy that said Doherty was a better spin bowler than Stephen O'Keefe. Yep, off their rockers!

  • David on January 26, 2014, 23:50 GMT

    Sayers, Bollinger or Cutting are the obvious replacements if Bird is not fit. Are there any others who might get a chance?

  • Patrick on January 26, 2014, 23:20 GMT

    Hopefully just a minor precaution but this is a bit of a worry IF any of the frontline bowlers other than Mitch need cover. Patto is looking very underdone and won't have time to find rhythm pre-SA. Australia's success has been built on confidence in their plans and near flawless execution of them and whilst Bird is capable of slotting in for Siddle or Harris, including Patto would undoubtedly force Clarke to use Mitch differently when having one clear role has been fundamental in his resurgence. It's a dead shame Patty Cummins is too early into this return to interest selectors, the very site of him on your would have SA thinking, at least halving their net practice to left arm throat balls at 145k+

  • nitin on January 26, 2014, 11:58 GMT

    Im very much agreed with ozcricketwriter has said, in the recent ashes also the aussie bowling was phenomenal as compare to our batting, our batting will be on the line infront of world's top bowlers as proteas wont give those let offs which england gave easily during the recent ashes series .

  • Chris on January 26, 2014, 11:52 GMT

    Agreed with VivGilchrist. Sayers and Cummins are the next best we've got after the group headed off to South Africa.

  • Adrian on January 26, 2014, 11:24 GMT

    I don't think our fast bowling will be the problem in South Africa. The batsmen are a much bigger worry. Harris, Siddle and Johnson are still fit, so we are fine.

  • ESPN on January 26, 2014, 10:06 GMT

    What are the Aussie doctors, physios and fitness gurus doing? This so called battery of Aussie bowling talent is all injured!

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