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Australia have suffered a huge blow ahead of the Ashes with Beth Mooney suffering a fractured jaw during training on Monday and she will undergo surgery.
A timelime for Mooney's return has yet to be determined but there remains hope that she will still be able to feature later in the multi-format series. However, with the condensed nature of the matches it may yet be the focus shifts to recovering in time to leave for the ODI World Cup in New Zealand next month.
The incident occurred when she was getting throwdowns from head coach Matthew Mott and was struck by a short delivery.
Mooney would have been a lynchpin of Australia's top order across the three formats. Earlier this season she played one of the finest ODI innings with an unbeaten 125 against India in Mackay.
"Unfortunately I played a pivotal role," Mott said. "Throwing balls to Beth, she was batting incredibly well, and as can happen just a rogue ball came up and put her in a pretty tough position. She tried to get out of the way and unfortunately copped it on the side of the chin.
"The good news is that our doctors are pretty positive that the way jaw surgeries are working these days the comeback time is a bit shorter. We are looking for her to play, Beth certainly wants to play, but we'll have to be smart and listen to the surgeons. She's an incredibly tough character. The ball hit her quite hard and her reaction was very stoic.
"You never want to get one of those but on the eve of an Ashes is probably the worst time. We'll get through that. She has a lot of great supporters here."
Her absence means there will need to be a reshuffle of the batting order at least for the T20I series with a new opening partner alongside Alyssa Healy. One option would be to promote Rachael Haynes although Australia like having her security in the middle order. Mott said the Australia vs Australia A matches on Tuesday were a chance to assess options and for players to stake a claim with uncapped Georgia Redmayne, who was in the squad against India, another in the mix.
Australia's preparations have also been hit by Covid-19. Ellyse Perry will miss the intrasquad warm-ups in Adelaide on Tuesday having been involved in what was termed a "scare" although is expected to link up with the team later in the day and be available for the T20Is which start on Thursday.
Australia A players Molly Strano and Katie Mack will also miss the warm-up matches after testing positive to Covid-19 and will not travel to Adelaide. Mack will remain at home in Canberra ahead of the Australia A 50-matches against England A, while Strano will travel direct to Canberra once she completes her period of isolation at home in Hobart.
"Think we've moved past trying to avoid Covid completely and there's a realisation that it may infiltrate our group," Mott said. "Where we've tried to be really smart is to keep as separated as we can for as long as we can so if someone does go down that we can isolate that really quickly and not take the whole group down. There's probably more to come, but watching the Big Bash and the way teams have been able to move and get on with it is something we really need to do for this series."
South Australia and Melbourne Renegades allrounder Courtney Webb has been called into the Australia A squad as cover for Strano and Mack.