Mitchell Marsh's fitness is under a cloud mere hours after he was named in the India tour squad, as a troublesome right shoulder has forced him to be withdrawn from the remainder of the ODI series against Pakistan. Victorian allrounder Marcus Stoinis was named his replacement for the Pakistan series.*
On a night when Australia's selectors also had to withdraw Chris Lynn from the team that will fly to Perth for Thursday's third match due to an ongoing neck problem, the news that Marsh's shoulder issues had worsened left the selectors scrambling for options not only for the ODI series but also mulling the shape of the India touring party.
In the wake of Pakistan's six-wicket win at the MCG, Australia's captain Steven Smith said that Marsh's present inability to bowl at top pace was a considerable problem leading into the India tour. Last year he was an impactful change bowler on the tour of New Zealand but his pace has trailed off in the intervening months, bottoming out to the mid-120kph range on Sunday evening.
"He has got an ongoing issue with his shoulder and we're giving him some time off to get that right," Smith said. "He could be a very key player for us in India and he hasn't been able to bowl the speeds he would like. We know how important air-speed is in India, especially with the ball reversing, so we need to be able to get that right."
Victoria's Peter Handscomb, who has scored two centuries and two fifites in his four Tests, was added to the ODI squad for the third match as a replacement for Lynn.
Mitchell Starc was rested from the team for Perth, while legspinner Adam Zampa, unused in the first two matches, was released to play for the Melbourne Stars in the BBL on Tuesday night before flying west on Wednesday.
Following the win at the MCG, Smith was critical of his batsmen, believing they had been too rushed in trying to assert themselves over the first two matches. "It's been pretty ordinary, our batting, aside from Matthew Wade in Brisbane," he said. "It's something we have to look at in Perth, we need to start forming some partnerships to get the scores we're after.
"We've been in a bit of a rush to be honest. A few players coming back from the BBL, but I guess there's no excuse for the Test players, but we've been in a bit of a rush and we need to just rein it in a little bit, give ourselves a chance and form some partnerships. We've got the power in the sheds to go hard at the back end - we know we've got plenty of power, but most of them have been back in the shed by the time we need them."
*06.30 GMT, January 16: This article was updated after Marcus Stoinis was selected.