Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo
Queensland are hopeful Test aspirant Michael Neser will still be available for the first Ashes Test after suffering a minor hamstring strain on the opening day of the Sheffield Shield clash with Western Australia at the Gabba.
Neser suffered the strain during his ninth over on the first afternoon after taking the early wicket of Cameron Bancroft. He had a scan on Thursday morning that revealed a low-grade strain in his right leg. Queensland physio and former Australia Test batter Martin Love said he was optimistic Neser would be available for selection in the opening Ashes Test despite it being less than four weeks away.
"He will be assessed in the coming days to arrive at a suitable return to play date," Love said. "At this stage, we are hopeful that, if required, he would be available for selection for the opening Test."
Neser has yet to play a Test match for Australia but has been a regular member of Australia's Test squads since 2018 and has come close to selection on a number of occasions. The retirement of James Pattinson has pushed him closer to the top of the queue of fast bowlers waiting in the wings behind Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc.
Neser is a certainty to be named in Australia's extended squad, due to be announced soon, but his participation in the three-day intrasquad match to be played in Brisbane starting on December 1 is now in doubt. He has had an interrupted start to the season, having missed two of Queensland's Shield matches due to the birth of his child.
Meanwhile, WA veteran Shaun Marsh is set for an extended period on the sidelines after suffering a bad calf injury while batting on the second day. Marsh was forced to retire hurt and did not return to bat or field on day two with his availability for WA's next Shield game against Tasmania and his participation in the early part of the BBL season for Melbourne Renegades in severe doubt.
WA bowler Joel Paris also suffered a minor hamstring injury on day one at the Gabba. He was able to bat on day two but won't bowl in Queensland's second innings.