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Injured Marcus Stoinis ruled out of West Indies T20I series

He has stayed back in Perth to continue his recovery, leaving Australia with fewer chances to nail down their XI for the T20 World Cup

Alex Malcolm
03-Oct-2022
Stoinis hasn't played a red-ball game since December 10

Marcus Stoinis has continually suffered side strains on both sides of his body over the last three years  •  Getty Images

Allrounder Marcus Stoinis has been ruled out of the upcoming T20I series against West Indies as he continues his recovery from a side strain he suffered in early September, leaving Australia's selectors fewer chances to bed down their best side ahead of the World Cup.
Stoinis has not travelled with Australia's squad to the Gold Coast ahead of the first game of a two-match series against West Indies on Wednesday. He has instead remained in Perth where he will link up with the squad at the weekend.
Following the second T20I against West Indies in Brisbane on Friday, Australia head to Perth for the first of three T20Is against England on Sunday as they continue their preparations for their opening T20 World Cup clash on October 22. They will play one more warm-up game against India before their tournament opener against New Zealand.
Stoinis suffered the injury on September 8 during an ODI series against New Zealand in Cairns. He was ruled out of the third ODI of that series and also missed Australia's whirlwind three-match T20I tour of India. He has continually suffered side strains on both sides of his body over the last three years after being significantly hampered with it during the 2019 ODI World Cup.
He flew home early from the ODI tour of Sri Lanka in June after suffering another minor strain but was able to recover in under three weeks to play in the Hundred in England before returning to Australia for the ODIs and Zimbabwe and New Zealand.
His latest injury has come at a time when Australia have a significant selection squeeze in their top seven thanks to the performances of Cameron Green and Tim David during the tour of India.
David seamlessly slotted in to the No. 6 role, vacated by Stoinis, on his Australia debut in India forming a composed partnership with Matthew Wade in a stunning run chase in Mohali before scoring a sensational 54 off 27 balls in Hyderabad to lift Australia to a highly competitive total after the top order collapsed.
Stoinis has been a mainstay of Australia's T20I middle order over the last three years and played two pivotal innings in last year's World Cup triumph. But David's form and experience playing the exact same role in franchise cricket means that Australia's selectors already had a decision to make in terms of their first-choice middle order in the World Cup. Stoinis' injury may alleviate some of the pressure on Steven Smith who was moved up to No. 3 for the India series. Mitchell Marsh is set to return to that position although his troublesome ankle, which he has had surgery on in the past, has severely hindered his bowling preparation for the World Cup after missing the India series.
Australia's selectors have also been looking for any excuse to get Green into their 15-man World Cup squad following his staggering performances in India. Green was added as cover for the series against West Indies after previously being set to play Sheffield Shield cricket this week, given he is currently not in the World Cup squad. Australia can add Green to the squad if Stoinis, or another player, is ruled out of the tournament with injury.
How Green fits into a starting XI against West Indies remains to be seen given his success in India came while opening the batting. David Warner has returned to the squad after being rested for the India series and it is highly unlikely Australia would move either Warner or captain Aaron Finch down the order given their success and experience as an opening duo.
Green did show his middle order and finishing skills in the ODIs against New Zealand but has limited T20 experience in those roles, although that is unlikely to faze the selectors as he had no opening experience in professional cricket prior to the India tour. His bowling would also give Australia another option, given their preference for seven batters and only four specialist bowlers in their XI with the fifth bowler to be made up by allrounders with Marsh, Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell providing those options at last year's World Cup.
Australia still has some overall fitness concerns ahead of the World Cup with depth players Ashton Agar and Kane Richardson unavailable for the West Indies series due to minor side strains both men suffered in India.

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo