Australia in India 2012-13

Bird out of India series with back injury

Brydon Coverdale

February 27, 2013

Comments: 41 | Text size: A | A

Jackson Bird got the crucial breakthrough of Dimuth Karunaratne, Australia v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Sydney, 3rd day, January 5, 2013
Scans revealed a bone stress injury in Jackson Bird's back © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Jackson Bird
Series/Tournaments: Australia tour of India
Teams: Australia

The fast bowler Jackson Bird will not rejoin Australia's squad in India after scans in Melbourne confirmed he has a bone stress injury in his back. Bird is likely to be out of action for up to two months, which is a worrying development for Australia in an Ashes year, given how well Bird's accurate seam-bowling style could translate to English conditions.

Bird took 0 for 10 from 10 overs in the warm-up match against the Indian Board President's XI two weeks ago but was not picked for the first Test in Chennai. He flew home after the Test to have his back injury assessed and Australia's team doctor Peter Brukner said the results had shown a problem with his lower back.

"Initial tests performed in Melbourne have confirmed that Jackson Bird has a bone stress injury of the low back," Brukner said. "He will undergo further tests tomorrow [Thursday]. He will not be re-joining the team in India."

The loss of Bird leaves Australia with a 16-man squad ahead of the second Test, which starts in Hyderabad on Saturday. At this stage, the selectors have not decided on whether to send a replacement player to join the group, leaving Mitchell Johnson as the only extra fast bowler in the group besides those who played in the first Test.

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

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Posted by   on (March 1, 2013, 7:00 GMT)

@Meety, yes, you are quite right, was just thinking in general terms, with a view towards England.

Posted by Meety on (February 28, 2013, 23:34 GMT)

@Sebastian Booth on (February 28, 2013, 11:05 GMT) - sorry, but I don't think he'd even be a good net bowler over there as none of India's frontline spinners are leggies. (Not wanting to be contrary) - LOL! @landl47 on (February 28, 2013, 16:44 GMT) - the reason why Harris's name keeps getting mentioned is due to his quality. Yes he is an injury risk, & yes so is Patto, although I would say Hilfy is not. I would not play either Patto or Harris twice in a row. That said, as a one/two combination (assuming they can last 5 days), COULD be a succesful strategy. @Jono Makim - one seamer has to make way for a spinner me thinks, unless the pitch has grass on it.

Posted by   on (February 28, 2013, 20:07 GMT)

@Landl47, If he´s fully fit and reckons he can get through a full test then of course he´ll be picked. The guy averages 23 with ball in hand. Whether or not he plays five tests straight is unknown and probably unthinkable. If he can get through 2 or 3 and keep taking wickets at 23 I think he´ll have proved his worth on the tour. Now that Henriques has come onto the scene and Watto is also there you have plenty of bowling back up if he goes down.

Posted by Apocalypse_EX on (February 28, 2013, 18:37 GMT)

@ Jono Makim, this is what the attack would look like for each format if I was a selector in the long term;

TESTS- Harris, Pattinson, Bird, Lyon with Siddle, Cutting, Starc and Zampa(after some decent seasons of shield) as backup

ODIs- Mckay, Starc, Johnson, Agar with Richardson, Coulter-nile, Alistor Mcdermott and Doherty as backup

T20- Hazelwood, Starc, Coulter-nile, Beer with Mcdermott, Richardson, and Doherty as backup ---------------------------- ------ I would try to keep each player as a specialist in each format so that they can remain as injury-free as possible (without playing them in multiple formats) This could hinder Hazelwood, Starc, Mcdermott, Richardson, NCN, Agar and a few other's performance in first-class cricket but its all for the best.

Posted by landl47 on (February 28, 2013, 16:44 GMT)

I know there's a lot of wishful thinking going on, but I'm still a little bewildered by those who think that Harris, a player who hasn't played a full series of test cricket in almost 4 years, can be selected for a five-game series. He's 33 now and by the time of the Ashes will be close to 34- retirement age for many fit fast bowlers, let alone one who constantly breaks down. He has a knee probelm that can't be fixed. The last time he played against England he took 0-91 before limping off.

Aus has seen Pattinson break down which likely cost them a test against SA, Hilf break down which cost them not only him but also Watson through having to bowl 47 overs- and that's just in the last 5 tests! Why on earth would the selectors risk going into a series with England with a guy who, on past experience, is about 90% likely to be crocked at some time, propbably in the middle of a test?

Get real, folks.

Posted by   on (February 28, 2013, 13:43 GMT)

So, everyone fit, what is everyones first choice pace attack? Assuming a 3 man attack plus a spinner and allrounder.... Think i´d take Harris and Patto as my first choice right now and probably Bird, errrr, third. I think Starc needs some more experience, he has no consistency at all and must improve greatly in that area. I like Sidds but Harris is better and I think Patto has surpassed him, Bird too I think will prove more effective. Johnson, well it depends on the day, doesn´t it! Hilfy is done I think while the Likes of Hazlewood and Cummins have lots of natural talent but need cricket under their belts. I don´t think Cutting has a good action for test cricket, he is going to struggle to move the ball away, NCN is in the same mould for mine, but he is a maybe. I just can´t see that Copeland has the penetration. Love the way Richardson swings it out at speed, he has a lot of upside potential. Sayers, Gannon et al i´ve not seen. McKay should be stuck with for odi´s.

Posted by   on (February 28, 2013, 11:13 GMT)

Mitch Johnson has 21 wickets @ 37 here from 6 tests, not great but acceptable on the dusty tarmacs of India. Surely he can't be worse than how Siddle and Starc turned up?

Posted by   on (February 28, 2013, 11:05 GMT)

@Meety, good point, I realised that after I posted it. I still think it'd be beneficial if he was sent over even if he didn't play, like Agar, he'd be a good net bowler and it'd be good for him to be around the set up of the team. It's a shame he can't play, because he does have experience in the subcontinent - he started his first-class cricket career there.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (February 28, 2013, 10:29 GMT)

Feel sorry for Bird as this will push him down the pecking order. For the tour to India, he was the 4th seamer (though, unfortunately, the selectors wanted Siddle's experience, so he was the 5th). He probably would have played in the 2nd test. But with Harris and Pat Cummins coming back, he will be down to 6th. And if it is in England, Siddle and Hilfenhaus will go ahead him so he will be right down at 8th. Pretty bad for someone with a sub 20 average.

Posted by ozziespirit on (February 28, 2013, 7:20 GMT)

Well there goes the Ashes then. Not that we had much of a chance in the first place. Bird would've been awesome on English pitches.

Posted by   on (February 28, 2013, 6:42 GMT)

Ben Hilfenhaus, Ryan Harris & Chadd Sayers all back in the frame for the Ashes tour it seems. Awful luck for Jackson Bird.

Posted by Meety on (February 28, 2013, 5:40 GMT)

@Sebastian Booth - Fawad is NOT eligible to play for Oz (yet)! == == == The worrying thing for me is, Bird does not fit the profile of a bloke that should pick up this type of injury. We have been told that players under 24 yrs of age, going from short forms to long forms are the ones to get this type of injury. Since the 3rd Test v SL, he has played 3 games (2 x T20) & the tour match. He's 26 & should of had his growing pains. The only thing I can think of, is being a tall bloke, he has been couped up on the plane flight over, & not been adequately stretched & manipulated since landing in India prior to the tour game? @FREEMONEY on (February 28, 2013, 3:16 GMT) - I agree although the bowlers you mentioned are stablished cricketers who are passed the age when a bowler is normally past that type of injury stage. Onus is on Howard to justify his performance me thinks!

Posted by venkatesh018 on (February 28, 2013, 5:30 GMT)

Bring back Ryan Harris for Mohali and Delhi.

Posted by DylanBrah on (February 28, 2013, 4:59 GMT)

Why is it only when these players make it to the national team that they are getting these injuries? Something going on here...

Posted by FREEMONEY on (February 28, 2013, 3:16 GMT)

Is it me or is there no accountability here from the Australian Strength and conditioning department. It is unacceptable that we have so many lower back injuries. If this was any other sporting organisation someone would have been sacked now. Would love to know how many tests Steyn,Anderson,Morkel, have missed from stress fractures in the last 3 years and these guys bowl a lot of overs!

Posted by Mad_Hamish on (February 28, 2013, 2:03 GMT)

In what world is Haddin tried and tested in the sub-continent? He averages 27.16 in India and 18.00 in Sri Lanka and is not much better than Wade behind the sticks. Paine averages 45 in India and even post hand injuries looks far better with the gloves than either of them. Fawad Ahmed isn't eligable for selection yet. There has been a rushed application for citizenship but uness it's granted he's not elibable for a while yet. I'd be cautious about Harris because he hasn't played much post injuries and I don't know if his body will stand up to the job. As for Hodge he's 38, hasn't played a first class match in over 3 years and has never played tests in India.

Posted by popcorn on (February 28, 2013, 1:09 GMT)

What is it about these kids,that despite the best medical attention,best physios, sports medicine,they are so prone to injuries? Maybe something in what they eat? If these kids want to play all formats,not realizing the dangers of overworking their bodies,backs,ankles,it is their "funeral". Stop pampering them. Craig McDermott, Dennis Lillee, Glenn McGrath were faster and better and played Test Cricket and ODIs too.An oblique way to send the message to these money - hungry fast bowlers who play all thjree formats is to chart out how many overs they have bowled in the period prior to selection, (easy to obtain ststistics) and not select the fast bowlers who have bowled more than a certain threshold level - whether they are better than the others is secondary. Doug Bollinger is a classic example. Because he played the Champions League JUST BEFORE the India Test Series,he BROKE DOWN after the Lunch on the last day of the Mohali Test, and we lost. Thank God he has NEVER BEEN SELECTED AGAIN

Posted by MinusZero on (February 28, 2013, 0:37 GMT)

What do they feed fast bowlers now days. In days past injuries were quite rare, not every second test. Stop feeding them marshmallows and give them the hard stuff :P

Posted by bobagorof on (February 27, 2013, 22:35 GMT)

What a surprise. I predict Henriques will be out of the 3rd Test too, as I'm sure he'll break down in the coming match. The Aussie bowlers can't seem to string more than a couple of games together. I wonder if Bird realised he had a sore back before he was sent home?

Posted by LewisDuckworth on (February 27, 2013, 21:21 GMT)

To all those people asking for Haddin to be in the team ahead of Wade, do you remember how poorly Haddin was playing before his last test match??? Wade is the future and the only way that he'll learn how to play on sub continent pitches is if he plays on them.

@SK5983, It's Fawad Ahmed, not Alam, and he's not got citizenship yet so he can't play for Australia until that comes through. Look out for him when the Ashes roles around though because word is it's being fast tracked.

Loosing Bird is a big blow, because after Pattinson I reckon Bird would have been our best quick in these conditions. If they're to send over a replacement it's to soon to bring Harris back, let him play some Shield matches first to build up his fitness, again look out for him in the Ashes. I reckon Stephen O'Keefe (left arm spinner and much better then Doherty) should head over, or if they're after more batting depth George Bailey. His shield forms been average but he was great during the ODI's.

Posted by landl47 on (February 27, 2013, 21:07 GMT)

Unfortunately, that's probably Bird gone for the Ashes as well as the India series. Stress fractures need time to heal and then a long rehabilitation program to build up strength so that it doesn't immediately happen again. Bird had made a great start to his international career and I feel very bad for him.

With Cummins already out (surely Aus wouldn't attempt to select a player who, by the time of the Ashes tour, won't have played a first-class match for over 18 months?) the brave new world of Australian quick bowling is looking a little ragged. It's lucky that Aus has such good depth in their fast bowling stocks that they aren't relying on the injured players.

Posted by B.Moizuddin.Gouhar on (February 27, 2013, 18:58 GMT)

hi there and good day to all... i totally agree with blink182alex they should have picked haddin in place of wade atleast for tests... haddin is tried and tested in sub-continent... i dont know what aussies are planing - are they planning for future by ignoring present? - well by watching present day cricket around the world (espicallay t20s) one can think there should be NO lots of planning by involing players coz if one is given rest or not selected for country they are playing and performing really well in other countries leauges like t20s... one classical example is hodge. once hussey quit, aust should have drafted hodge immediately in the team .. well for me its better late than never still they should pick haddin and hodge otherwise their chances of success in sub-continent will remain fragile...

Posted by   on (February 27, 2013, 18:50 GMT)

I rarely agree with Johseph Langford but this time I must, it is an endless procession of bowlers playing a few games then poof injured. Way to often for it to be a coincidence. Rethink the training program you are breaking the players gentelmen. Cant blame the rotation policy so it must be the training method

Posted by   on (February 27, 2013, 17:32 GMT)

Another fit young, healthy player joins the Australian Team .... within 8-weeks he has a serious back injury!!! I really think that the Australian Coaching Staff have to re-think their training program.

Posted by gsingh7 on (February 27, 2013, 17:24 GMT)

bird needs rest before he fly again to india . bring beer to india . he can fill the void and make indian batsmen dizzy . with little help of beer , lyon will roar again , making a starc contrast to present doom and gloom. and moises will surely part the dust cloud from pitch when he comes to bat in hydera-bad pitch.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 27, 2013, 17:07 GMT)

@ Prajith4j. You wrote "What's the problem with these modern day fast bowlers all over the world? I don't see anyone among the current lot to reach 400 test wickets or may be even 650 test & ODIs combined?"

Have you heard of a bowler by the name of Dale Steyn. He's as fit as a fiddle, does not break down, and takes wickets at a remarkable rate. Oddly enough he has been the best bowler in the world since 2009. If you followed cricket you would have heard about him! He has taken 60 wickets in his last 10 tests. 332 wickets @ 22.65 ave & SR of 41.1 He has 21 5-fors and 10 10-fors in 65 matches. At his rate of 5.1mickets per match, he'll need 13.3 matches to reach 400 test wickets.

Posted by jonesy2 on (February 27, 2013, 16:56 GMT)

are you serious!!!!!???? he has barely played since dominating in his debut series how does he have a stress injury!?? i seriously hope he is fine and fit for the ashes he would tear england to shreds but if he cant then at least the brilliant ryan harris is fit again, cant see england surviving more than 20 overs an innings with a combo or bird or harris and pattinson bowling at them

Posted by blink182alex on (February 27, 2013, 16:29 GMT)

We absolutely need Jackson Bird 100% fit for the Ashes in England, he will go very well in english conditions and i wouldn't of been surprised if he was the leading wicket taker in the series much like Hilfenhaus was in 2009.

Ryan Harris i would say is the 2nd best seam bowler in Australia behind Pattinson, but i would think about letting him get some more games under his belt domestically before using him in back to back Ashes, don't want to rush him back to soon.

Wade seriously needs to improve his keeping, he missed two edges off Lyon yesterday and it hasn't been a one off, i would say Haddin pound for pound is still better than Wade but Wade is the future and could end up with 7000 odd test runs if he plays for the next 10 years. We do have a lot of young players and if we stick with them we may reap the rewards in the long term.

Posted by   on (February 27, 2013, 15:48 GMT)

Absence of Bird, the new Pigeon, will be a set back for the Australians. Now, I know, why they are so protective of Pattinson. If Patty also breaks down, it will almost be an irreparable double-blow.

Posted by Prajith4j on (February 27, 2013, 15:34 GMT)

What's the problem with these modern day fast bowlers all over the world? I don't see anyone among the current lot to reach 400 test wickets or may be even 650 test & ODIs combined?

Posted by QingdaoXI on (February 27, 2013, 14:58 GMT)

Those who are asking for Fawad Alam, should remember he is a subcontinental spinner and dominating in Australia due to inability of Asussies batsmen to play spin, if he come to India, knowing he is pakistani spinner, Indian batmsne will crushed him and after just one test you people will say he is not ready for Internationlas, let him play more sheild matches over there in Australia, he might be useful for Ashes both away and home. But Tim Paine is necessary wade is wayard both in batting and keeping in this conditiins.

Posted by Mitch1066 on (February 27, 2013, 14:53 GMT)

Maybe need another quality spinner to call no replace bird .

Posted by CricketMaan on (February 27, 2013, 14:21 GMT)

No Ryan Harris please, save him for IPL and at least 1 or 2 Ashes in England. Whatz upto these mordern day fast bolwers..there is a hardly anyone going around that can play 10 Tests in a year. Steyn is the only one that comes to my mind.

Posted by ravi_hari on (February 27, 2013, 14:15 GMT)

I dont think Aussies are really thinking of a replacement in a hurry. Of the remaining 3 tests only Mohali gives a hope for seamers and if you go by the statements of Aurther and Clarke they might re-look at the bowling combination for Hyd and Delhi. Henriques will be their third seamer and Doherthy may be the first choice second spinner in the XI. They might also look at dropping Hughes and picking Maxwell instead with the existing combination so that they have 3 seamers and 2 spinners with Henriques and Clarke giving extra bowling options. I think Aussies are more concerned about their batters at the moment than bowling. Barring Lyon the others seem in tandem though only Pattinson got the wkts in Chennai. It would be wise to wait until Mohali and then asses if you need a replacement. The focus should be on coming back at Hyd and consolidate at Mohali so that they can think of changing the combination in Delhi. If batting clicks, bowling will fall in place too, like it did for India.

Posted by   on (February 27, 2013, 14:00 GMT)

They should send over Ryan Harris, Fawad Ahmed, and Tim Paine. Ahmed has been bowling well for Victoria, and seems a better prospect than Doherty - he also turns the ball away from the right handers, but also had a googly and seems more likely to take wickets. Harris is fit again and seems to be back in form given tonight's showing - prior to being injured, popular opinion both within the team and with the public was that he was Australia's premier bowler, and it would be good for him to get some Tests under his belt before the Ashes, where he could play a crucial role. Tim Paine is almost certainly a better keeping prospect than Wade, and has had success with the bat in India before. His presence, even if he doesn't play, should keep the pressure on Wade.

Posted by   on (February 27, 2013, 13:41 GMT)

Get Ryan Harris into the squad NOW!!! bowled really well in the Ryobi Cup final against Victoria. He is the perfect bowler for these conditions, also he bolwed well in Sri Lanks 2011 and in West Indies 2012 on a similar wickets to India.

Posted by prakash44261 on (February 27, 2013, 13:28 GMT)

aussie selectors should pick ryan harris...seems he is back at his best

Posted by BHASKARBHARATWAJ on (February 27, 2013, 13:18 GMT)

haddin is must for aust at least he gives expeience he knows how to bat keep etc i think he lead a team called sydney sixers to victory in champions tropy in india

Posted by Beertjie on (February 27, 2013, 13:16 GMT)

@Sachit1979 on (February 27, 2013, 13:00 GMT) Agree entirely!

Posted by OzWally on (February 27, 2013, 13:13 GMT)

Will the selectors admit they made a mistake and NOW send Steve O'Keefe to India?

Posted by Sachit1979 on (February 27, 2013, 13:00 GMT)

More than a bowler, Aussies need a backup in wicket keeping department. Wade has been disappointment with bat as well as behind stumps also. So Tim Paine or Haddin should be added to the squad to serve Clarke and team management with options.

Comments have now been closed for this article

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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.
Tour Results
India v Australia at Delhi - Mar 22-24, 2013
India won by 6 wickets
India v Australia at Mohali - Mar 14-18, 2013
India won by 6 wickets
India v Australia at Hyderabad (Deccan) - Mar 2-5, 2013
India won by an innings and 135 runs
India v Australia at Chennai - Feb 22-26, 2013
India won by 8 wickets
India A v Australians at Chennai - Feb 16-18, 2013
Match drawn
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