Australia news July 22, 2014

Marsh, Harris ruled out of Pakistan series


Batsman Shaun Marsh has been ruled out of Australia's next two tours with an elbow injury, while fast bowler Ryan Harris has also been officially declared unavailable for the series against Pakistan in the UAE in October.

Cricket Australia's confirmation on Harris was widely expected, given that he had not even started running yet after having major knee surgery in March. It is unclear whether Harris will be fit for Australia's home Tests against India, but the team physio Alex Kountouris is hopeful that he will be bowling again before Christmas and could be in the mix.

However, the news that Marsh requires surgery on his elbow and will miss the tours of Zimbabwe and the UAE and the start of the domestic summer was more of a surprise. Marsh picked up the ligament problem during the IPL earlier this year and his failure to recover with a period of rest has left him with no option but to have surgery next week, which will rule him out for up to four months.

The injury lay-off comes at a particularly inopportune time for Marsh, who would have been considered for Australia's Test squad to face Pakistan in the UAE in October after his 148 against South Africa in Centurion in February. Although Marsh lost his place in the Test side later on the South African tour, he would have been a chance to make the touring party for the Pakistan series.

The injury means he will also be unavailable for the one-day tour of Zimbabwe in late August, as well as the Champions League Twenty20 and the start of the home summer for Western Australia. Marsh, who has been plagued by injuries over the course of his career, will have surgery with the goal of returning later in the domestic season and becoming available for the World Cup and next year's Ashes tour of England.

"It's a pretty significant injury," Kountouris said. "We don't see it much in cricket; it's more common in baseball. Cricketers tend to cope with just a short period of rest and they come back and do well. Shaun has had a short period of rest, but it's still a problem and we know that surgery takes a long time to recover.

"There's a three-to-four month recovery period and we've chosen to go ahead with that because it gives him time to play for Western Australia and prepare for the World Cup and the Ashes next year."

Australia will also be hoping to have Harris available for the 2015 Ashes, after his outstanding performance there last year and his remarkable work on the tour of South Africa this year. After bowling Australia to a series win in Cape Town, Harris had surgery on his chronic knee problem and said he was hoping to be available for the Pakistan series, but it soon became apparent that was an unrealistic aim.

"We're certainly not looking to him to be right for the UAE at the moment," Kountouris said. "He's going to start running in the next couple of weeks and we'll see how his knee responds to that and hopefully it'll respond the way we expect. If he copes with that, we'll transition him into bowling.

"We're looking for him to be able to play somewhere before Christmas. Hopefully it'll be the India Test matches and he'll play some Sheffield Shield matches before that, but until he starts running and then bowling it's very hard to predict what's going to happen."

Kountouris also said that left-arm spinner Ashton Agar had been ruled out of the ongoing quadrangular A-team series due to a knee injury. Agar, who made his Test debut in the Ashes Test at Trent Bridge last year, was expected to play for Cricket Australia's National Performance Squad in a tournament which also includes A-teams from Australia, South Africa and India.

"It's a tendon problem that we're trying to manage and being a pre-season tournament, we've decided to get him home and get him right for the start of the season," Kountouris said of Agar's fitness.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Bob on July 24, 2014, 23:07 GMT

    For the upcoming tour of the UAE I would have this team:

    1 - Rogers 2 - Warner 3 - Smith 4 - Clarke 5 - ??? 6 - Watson/Maxwell/Faulkner 7 - Haddin 8 - O'Keefe 9 - Johnson 10 - Siddle/Bollinger 11 - Lyon

    Smith plays at 3 for NSW, why not play him there? It's been a troublesome spot ever since Ponting's loss of form, why not give our best player of spin (after Clarke) a go in what is a pivotal position in spin-friendly conditions. The all-rounder position could go to Maxwell, Faulkner or Watson, depending on conditions. Sadly it seems Watson will be the default choice, but Maxwell is better with the bat and more of a wicket-taker with the ball, rather than a container. Faulkner also deserves the chance for greater batting responsibility. The keeper and bolwers pick themselves really. O'Keefe is essential as a second spinner, and Bollinger's excellent form in country cricket should be rewarded, not to mention he has that Harris 'give it all' attitude.

    I don't know who I'd have at #5.

  • ESPN on July 23, 2014, 17:16 GMT

    @Siddhartha87. Couldn't have put that better myself regarding Warner as it's like having a Gilchrist type player as a test opener is has become that potent, his test average is 48 now and rising.

  • siddhartha on July 23, 2014, 16:10 GMT


    Forget about the pitches in South Africa, He faced the best bowling attack in the world with such a ease. South Africa had to put 9 fielders on boundary to stop Warner.

    He carried that form to IPL. I agree test cricket is far more challenging than a domestic t20 league, but Warner played spin like a champion in IPL.He batted at no 4 and ended up being one of the stars in this IPL. Believe me this guy is on the rise. You should better get used to it

  • Nicholas on July 23, 2014, 15:42 GMT

    As a neutral, I'd love to see that team (or something very similar) to that posted by modernaussie. Great line-up there; my only concerns would be: 1. Warner (no surprise some of you will say... but bear with me): it's not just spin he really struggles with @dunger.bob - he has failed miserably against the moving ball (swing/seam) and has only capitalised in Australian/South African conditions; best have a backup opener should that trend continue; 2. Not sure if Smith is ready for position 3; depending on the game situation (i.e. do the openers set a decent platform or not) might be best to just keep Watson there; 3. Will O'Keefe even be considered this time, or is this just wishful thinking again?

    1.Rogers 2.Warner 3.Watson 4.Clarke 5.Smith 6.Maxwell 7.Haddin 8.Johnson 9.Siddle 10.O'Keefe 11.Lyon

  • siddhartha on July 23, 2014, 13:34 GMT

    It will be a huge gamble but Aussie should try Maxwell at 3. Pitches will not be conducive to pacers so he can feast on them. By the time spinners come he will be well settled

  • rob on July 23, 2014, 9:26 GMT

    @ modernaussie: Mate, I'm halfway on board already with your batting order. I can see the idea and it's a good one for the situation. I don't think there's a chance in hell they'll do that of course, but if we're 1-0 down and really have nothing to lose but pride, I'd do it.

  • rob on July 23, 2014, 8:43 GMT

    I'm glad there are at least a few others who are wary as hell of Pakistan in the UAE. Without Harris and Patto (his logical cover) I think our guys might struggle a bit. And, can we realistically expect MJ to continue his red hot form indefinitely? I don't think we can. Even if he's slightly off top form the pitches will take care of the rest and bring him back to the pack a bit. Just saying.

    @ Rowayton: ACT for Berendorff you say. That'll teach me to read a blokes profile before commenting about him lol! Anyway, I agree with the Ajmal thing except that maybe I'd like to see them milking 3 or 4 rpo. That sort of thing really gets under a spinners skin. .. way easier said than done with Ajmal though.

    @ Chris_P: Yeah, I've never been super impressed with Mitch Marsh. Too hit and miss but I have to say he's playing well right at the moment and I suppose that's all I can really ask. If he's still playing like this in 6-12 months time then bloody good on him and welcome aboard son.

  • milan on July 23, 2014, 8:34 GMT

    people talking about Maxwell going to the UAE I agree as well.maxwell not only plays spin well he could also relieve the pressure while someone like rogers Clarke or Watson goes at 2 a over. not only would Maxwell help the batting his fielding is some of the best in the world and his off breaks would be more than handy for 12 overs a day at least.i would really like to see smith promoted to 3 for this tour only because rogers and warner don't play spin that gracefully , im worried if we have a doolan or Watson at 3 ( also cant play spin that great ) we would have smith followed b Clarke followed by Maxwell who can all handle it.anyone else agree with me here ? seems out there but I really think it could work aloowing Watson haddin and Johnson to score freely at the end. my 15 man squad for pak series 1.Rogers 2.Warner 3.Smith 4.Clarke %5.Maxwell 6.Watson 7.Haddin 8.Johnson 9.Siddle 10.O'Keefe 11.Lyon rest of squad: C.Sayers , M.Starc , A.Doolan , M.Marsh ( experience round the squad

  • Dummy4 on July 23, 2014, 7:38 GMT

    @Dunger.Bob, I don't think you're alone in wanting to see Maxy go to the UAE. I'd almost certainly play him at 6. I guess a lot depends on whether O'Keefe gets a run.

    My Team. Warner, Rogers, Watson, Clarke, Smith, Maxwell, Haddin, O'Keefe, Johnson, Lyon, Siddle.

    I think they may prefer someone like Mitch Marsh or Mo Hen. at 6 if they are going to play 2 specialist spinners, but I think Watto as 3rd seamer covers it. I think if we go with 3 seamers and just the one spinner then Maxy would be a certainty to play.

  • siddhartha on July 23, 2014, 6:37 GMT

    Another option will be taking Maxwell for tests to UAE. He got tremendous hand - eye co ordination. He has the potential to play like Sehwag against spin.

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