Australia in India 2012-13

Bird flies home with back pain

Brydon Coverdale

February 25, 2013

Comments: 78 | Text size: A | A

Jackson Bird celebrates one of his two wickets, Australia v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Melbourne, 3rd day, December 28, 2012
Jackson Bird will head to Australia for precautionary scans © Getty Images
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The fast bowler Jackson Bird will fly home from Australia's tour of India to have precautionary scans on his back.

Bird played in the first of Australia's two warm-up matches in Chennai and took 0 for 10 from 10 overs against the Indian Board President's XI but was not selected for the first Test. Although he will leave India in the next 24 hours Bird might return to the squad if the scans are clear.

"Jackson has reported some low level back pain and we feel the best course of action to determine the issue is to send him back to Australia for scans," the Australian team doctor Peter Brukner said. "If the scans come back clear then he will return to India to take up his place with the squad."

If Bird is ruled out of the tour Australia will need to decide whether to send another fast bowler to join the squad. It is likely that Bird would have been the fifth bowler in line for a Test call-up on this trip given that the other fast man in the squad, Mitchell Johnson, has had success in India in the past.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (February 27, 2013, 21:19 GMT)

There is nothing wrong in trying out new spinners. They have nothing to lose but a lot to gain. A tour to India is ALWAYS the acid test for spinners cause of the flamboyance and solid technique of Indian batsmen against them. Having said that, England have shown the world that it's not really that hard to get Indian batsmen out once there is consistency in line and length on a helpful wicket. Lyon bowled decently, it's just that MS Dhoni was magnificent. When someone plays such an innings, you can only stand and admire. Even Shane Warne and Murali were taken to cleaners in India; two legends of the game. So if I were Clarke or CA, I would draft in a couple of young spinners from down under and let them loose. Hyderabad won't be like Chennai. It's a different state with different soil content. The quicks will play a big role for the first 3 days at least. Australia have a decent pace attack. They need 2 spinners to back Pattinson, Siddle and Henriques. Sorry, Starc might miss out.

Posted by pronoysircar on (February 27, 2013, 15:31 GMT)

Informed player management? Letting a Bird with a bad back further aggravate his injuries by flying all the way across the Indian Ocean doesn't sound very informed to me. On the topic of his replacement , maybe Australia ought to borrow Onions from England. He sure can make (bats)men cry.

Posted by   on (February 27, 2013, 12:00 GMT)

@Jayzuz . Thanks for your clarification regarding Starc. It makes a lot of sense. Choice of Johnson might work.

Posted by   on (February 27, 2013, 10:36 GMT)

@Landl47 I don´t mind your team at all! I would have Maxwell for Khawaja though. I don´t think Usman is going to be able to ever get on top of the bowling here, if he was a chance to bat in the top 3 than maybe, but down at 6/7 i´d rather have Maxwell who can attack and also bowls, a far better fielder too. He could be a real handful out of the rough as he at least gives the ball a good rip.

Posted by Apocalypse_EX on (February 27, 2013, 5:10 GMT)

Pretty sure they won't send a spinner back to India instead of Bird. When asked by journalists about the possibility this is what Clarke said "Bring more spinners to India? We'll bring the whole country in soon! Warney's is in town. We'll see, if he's available! I mean, we already have 17 players!". In all probability Bird will "fly" back.

Posted by RJHB on (February 27, 2013, 2:10 GMT)

From bad to worse. A very disappointing result after an extremely disappointing first test effort for the team. At this stage greentops in England are looking like paradise compared to these Indian travesties. ATleast our bowlers will be a handful for the Poms even if our weak as hell batting lineup is out for 150 every time! Lets just hope Bird is part of the action cos he'd do very very well in the old dart!

Posted by Jayzuz on (February 27, 2013, 1:26 GMT)

@Jose Puliampatta, One of Starc's main assets is the incredible bounce he gets off the wicket - and that has been completely nullified by the pitch curators in India. That leaves him with the swinging yorker. But with no grass on the track, that gives him about 3 overs before the shine is erased. He'll need to develop other variations in India, as his main tools won't work there. Johnson may well be better, as he has a lower action, and skids it on more. The ball will just sit up here for Starc. And I can't see the curators at any other ground preparing anything but the driest, most grassless tracks imaginable. They play by different standards in India.

Posted by Frank_Curry on (February 26, 2013, 23:24 GMT)

Our spinners who have been tried at test level are at best, average - Krejza, Doherty, Hauritz, Beer, Lyon. The ones yet tried are Boyce, Zampa, O'Keefe, Agar, Holland and Maxwell. We took a punt on Lyon and I don't believe there will be a long-term return from our investment. It's time to take another punt as we did with Warne and expect a new spinner to be smacked around a bit until he gains his feet. For this reason, I would go with Boyce or Zampa.

Posted by landl47 on (February 26, 2013, 18:24 GMT)

Unless Australia completely changes the selection policy, there was no place for Bird anyway. His usefulness would be in keeping an end tight (0-10 in 10 overs in his only match) while the spinners take a rest. If the policy remains blast out the Indian barsmen, then what is needed is Mitch Johnson. He comes in, Henriques becomes the third seamer and Aus plays another batsman. That makes the line-up something like Cowan, Warner, Hughes, Watson, Clarke, Khawaja, Henriques, Wade, Johnson, Pattinson, Lyon. I'm not sure if that line-up can take 20 wickets, but the batting becomes longer and at least the two specialist pacemen are genuinely fast and dangerous.

I hope Bird is OK and fit for the Ashes. @gsingh7: nobody is casting aspersions on Indian medical treatment. Top sportsmen go to the place which they feel is the best for their particular situation. Stuart Broad got his custom boots in Germany and Bresnan went to America for surgery. That's how it is these days.

Posted by InsideHedge on (February 26, 2013, 16:49 GMT)

It's obvious he will NOT be returning, they want him fully fit and available for the Ashes. Even if fit, he is unlikely to be very effective in India where he has zero experience. Aussies would be smart to fly in a spinner who can bat a bit too, and fields well. Some have mentioned Agar, he'll be taken to the cleaners, it needs to be someone who has some experience.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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