Cameron Green makes 'significant' progress in injury recovery ahead of Nagpur Test
The allrounder is unlikely to be available to bowl, however, as Australia ponder team balance
Australia allrounder Cameron Green has shown encouraging signs in his recovery from a broken finger as he makes a late bid to be fit for the opening Test against India in Nagpur, although it remains highly unlikely that he will be able to bowl.
Green got the all-clear to resume training shortly before leaving for the tour and has now begun batting and bowling with a hard ball in the nets. The concern for the management will still be the build-up of his workloads after a month out of action, but before leaving Sydney head coach Andrew McDonald indicated he would be considered as a specialist batter.
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"He's made some significant steps forward in the last couple of days, probably to my surprise, so there's still an outside chance that everything going well he might be on the team sheet," McDonald told reporters in Alur on Saturday. "I wouldn't say he was in discomfort with his bowling, one of the deliveries jarred the bottom of the bat and that can create discomfort for anyone but there's a little bit of awareness around that finger."
However, with Green still only a very slim chance of being an option with the ball in the first Test, which begins on February 9, it continues to raise the question as to how Australia will balance their side. Against South Africa at the SCG last month, Ashton Agar was recalled to partner Nathan Lyon and while there has been the assumption two frontline spinners will play in Nagpur, captain Pat Cummins was well aware of the potent force Australia's quicks can be even while they are missing the injured Mitchell Starc.
"I wouldn't say it [two spinners] is a given, it's very conditions dependent so particularly this first Test, once we get to Nagpur we'll see," Cummins said. "I think sometimes talking about a couple of spinners you forget how good a lot of our fast bowlers have been in all conditions. Even some of the SCG wickets, there hasn't been a lot in them for quick bowlers but the quick bowlers have found a way.
"We've got plenty of bowling options here - fingerspin, wristspin, left-arm, Starcy when he comes back - so we'll obviously pick the bowlers we think can take 20 wickets, how we are going to split that up we aren't 100% sure yet."
If Australia do go with two frontline spinners, Cummins was open to the uncapped offspinner Todd Murphy partnering Lyon, although Australia also have Travis Head's bowling to call on. Legspinner Mitchell Swepson is the other option in the squad.
"It's a chance. That's something we'll have to balance up if we want to go with two spinners," he said. "Do we want variation, or just two offspinners? So there's no reason why we can't go that way. Travis Head is in the side as well and bowls really good offspin. We've got plenty of variety to choose from."
On the batting front, McDonald believes that David Warner will be motivated to overturn a mediocre record in India despite speaking of his fatigue after a busy home summer shortly before departing for the trip.
"He's really looking forward to the challenge of India and it's been well documented that he hasn't had the series that he would've liked here, and it's always challenging," McDonald said. "But the way that he's applying himself in his downtime to really landing on a method to take on the Indian spinners, also the quicks, and to have a successful tour...I think you'll see him fully invigorated, fully invested and fully recharged for the challenge ahead."
Australia will have another full training session in Bengaluru on Sunday before traveling to Nagpur on Monday.
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo