'Surgery for Starc's injured ankle is the last resort' - Kountouris
Mitchell Starc's ankle injury flared up again during the Ashes and subsequent ODI series in England, but 'surgery will be a last resort' according to Australia's physiotherapist Alex Kountouris.
"Our plan is to continue manage Mitchell [Starc] and monitor how his ankle responds. Whilst surgery has been discussed, like most other situations, it is a last resort, particularly as it will involve a lengthy lay off from playing (3-5 months)," Kountouris said.
Having featured in 26 of Australia's 27 games in all formats this year, Starc has had to contend with a heavy workload. He was rested for the fourth ODI against England at Headingley after taking a cortisone injection. Starc also needed painkillers to get to the bowling crease in the Cardiff Test.
"During the recent Ashes Test and ODI series in the UK, there have been times when Mitchell has struggled and required cortisone injections to treat the inflammation within the joint", Kountouris said.
"As part of his management, we have had regular MRI scans that have confirmed the presence of some bone spurs, that cause the inflamed joint."
Starc, however, returned for the decider, which Australia won emphatically, and the most recent scan did not show any 'significant deterioration'. He will have a 10-day break before the Bangladesh tour, starting October 9.
Australia also have a packed schedule ahead with home series against New Zealand, West Indies, and India, before tours to New Zealand and South Africa. The schedule culminates with the World Twenty20 in India, starting March 16.
Cricket Australia chairman of selectors Rod Marsh hoped that Starc would continue bowling and lead the attack in the World T20: "We have got some pretty important cricket coming including the T20 World Cup and we would like to see Starc lead the attack for that. But if he can't, he can't. But at the moment the plan is for him to keep going."
Starc, who had already gone under the knife twice for his ankle issues, had earlier missed the start of the IPL this year because of a knee niggle.