As David Warner rated himself "highly unlikely" to be fit in time for the tour of Bangladesh, Australia have been compelled to raid English county ranks for reinforcements as Nathan Coulter-Nile became the third member of the ODI touring party to be ruled out of the series due in the space of two days.
A recurrence of hamstring trouble is a bad sign for Coulter-Nile, who has suffered a right hamstring strain in his first series back after undergoing surgery on his left hamstring during the home summer. He joins Warner and Shane Watson as casualties from the second match against England at Lord's, after Ryan Harris, Brad Haddin, Michael Clarke and Chris Rogers were all either withdrawn or retired from the national team during the preceding Ashes series.
The surfeit of withdrawals has meant that the national selectors have pulled the Victorian duo of John Hastings (Durham) and Peter Handscomb (Gloucestershire) from county cricket after already calling up Aaron Finch to replace Warner. The drain of experience from the team is now an extreme one, leaving the new captain Steven Smith with a decidedly youthful squad for the remainder of this tour and more than likely Bangladesh as well.
Warner said he was very doubtful of his ability to recover from a broken thumb in time, having been struck by Steven Finn in more or less the same place where Mitchell Johnson struck him a stinging blow in the WACA nets ahead of an ODI match against South Africa last summer.
"I knew pretty much straight away when I got hit that it was the same one and it was quite painful," Warner said before flying home. "Look I know from last time when it was actually just a minor fracture, it was a minimum of three weeks before I could pick up a bat. You never want to miss a Test match. I never do want to miss a Test match but it's probably highly unlikely I'm going to make Bangladesh.
"At the moment it's six weeks with the thumb so that's before I can pick up a bat. So I think that pretty much sums up what I can and can't do. So for me it's about trying to target what's after that and sit down with obviously the coach and the selectors and see what I have to do. I wanted to go on with the form to try and put some big scores on the board in this one-day tournament and now I'm going to miss the rest of this and quite possibly the Test series.
"I'm gutted. I'm not happy about that but I'll get a bit of a break now and have got six to eight weeks off before we have to come back and assemble for the first-class game [for New South Wales] in Adelaide so it's now time to get back as soon as possible and then I can work on my fitness for longevity for the next few years."
Warner's potential loss to the Test squad will also be a blow to Smith, as the pair seek to begin a fruitful partnership as captain and deputy. The concurrent retirement of Watson makes it increasingly likely that the selectors will name their least experienced opening combination in decades, with Joe Burns (two Tests) and the uncapped Cameron Bancroft in line for the opportunity.
"It'd be nice if I can have a little bit of a chat to whoever is there," Warner said of his replacements, "but with the experience with Steve Smith who has been over there and a couple of other lads they can actually learn from them. I'm pretty sure the guys that are coming in, guys from Australia A they've just played in India and know what the experiences are like, so whoever comes in I'm sure will do a great job and do whatever they can to help the team win."
The injuries are a significant hurdle for the Australia coach Darren Lehmann also, as he seeks to mould a new side under Smith's leadership. "We're disappointed to lose players of the calibre of David Warner, Shane Watson and Nathan Coulter-Nile," Lehmann said, "but we have quality replacements on hand in Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb and John Hastings.
"We looked at all options including the possibility of flying in cover from Australia but the fact all three of the players we have drafted in are already in England means they can join us at short notice, be acclimatised to conditions and be available for selection immediately, if required. We look forward to them playing their parts in trying to ensure we finish this tour with a victory in the ODI series, starting in Manchester on Tuesday night."
Though prolific with the ball for Durham, Hastings has not played for Australia since his one and only Test against South Africa at the WACA in 2012. The inclusion of the 24-year-old Handscomb is more of a pointer towards the future, as he took part in the recent Australia A tour of India and is regarded as one of the most promising batting prospects in the country.