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Injured Mitchell Marsh to miss opening ODI; Inglis tests positive for Covid

Australia are hopeful Marsh will return to play later in the series, Inglis isolates for five days, while Matt Renshaw is flown in as cover

Mitchell Marsh pulls, Australia vs New Zealand, T20 World Cup final, Dubai, November 14, 2021

Mitchell Marsh hasn't played for Australia since his memorable performance in the T20 World Cup final last year  •  Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty Images

Australia's already depleted white-ball squad suffered two more blows when Mitchell Marsh was ruled out of the opening ODI with a hip flexor injury and wicketkeeper-batter Josh Inglis tested positive for Covid on Monday*. Australia are hopeful Marsh will return to play later in the series, and Inglis will isolate for five days before returning to the squad, which will make him miss the second ODI as well.
All other members of the squad returned negative results following routine daily testing. Australia has flown in Queensland batter Matt Renshaw as cover and will join the group after completing three days of isolation in Lahore. Renshaw has played 11 Tests for Australia, the last of which was in 2018, but has yet to play an ODI or T20I.
Emerging star Cameron Green is set to be Marsh's replacement for the opening ODI on Tuesday in Lahore.
Marsh's scans in Lahore on Monday revealed his left-hip injury, which he had sustained during fielding drills on Sunday. "Scans confirmed the injury was a low-grade hip flexor strain. Marsh will be managed clinically with a view to potentially returning to play later in the series," a Cricket Australia statement said later on Monday.
The T20 World Cup hero's likely absence will challenge an inexperienced Australia's depth with a number of key players unavailable after a gruelling triumph in the recently concluded historic Test series, the first played between the teams in Pakistan since 1998.
Marsh, who has played 63 ODIs since debuting in 2011, was tipped to bat in the top order while also providing useful seam bowling for a team missing spearheads Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood. His Player-of-the-Match performance in the T20 World Cup final against New Zealand was the last time Marsh played for Australia after being a reserve squad member during the Pakistan Test series and the Ashes.
"He's injured his hip-flexor, we think, at training. We are going to have to wait and see what that looks like but I don't think he'll be available for the series based on how he was feeling yesterday," Finch told reporters on Monday morning.
"He sustained that in a fielding drill, it was a high intensity, lateral movement drill and he bent down to pick it up one-handed and went to throw and felt a twinge."
Green, who has played just one ODI on his fledgling career, is set to take his Western Australia team-mate's place on the back of an encouraging Test series where he averaged 51.67 batting at No. 6 and took three wickets with his probing seam bowling.
The 22-year-old played a particularly important role in Australia's series-deciding third Test victory with a vital 79 in the first innings and he claimed the big wicket of in-form opener Abdullah Shafique early on day five.
"Cam will play and probably bat in that middle-order role," Finch said. "We've seen he's a super talented cricketer. He's someone who has been quite consistent in his Test career, his impact with the bat and ball can't be understated. Really excited for Cam to get that opportunity."
Even though they are undermanned, Finch said it was a welcome opportunity for Australia to test their depth with an eye towards next year's ODI World Cup in India. It's been a barren run for Australia, who last played an ODI in July 2021 against West Indies and they have only played four since December 2020.
"It's about trying to build the depth of the squad and build experience in players," he said. "It's a really good opportunity. With every decision we make there is one eye towards the 50-over World Cup and to tie everything back to that is really important."
Having memorably claimed the Test series, Australia are hoping to complete a momentous tour with success in the white-ball leg which involves three ODIs and a one-off T20I to be played entirely in Lahore.
"Our goal 100% is to win this series," Finch said. "We still feel like we have a squad to do that even though it is inexperienced at times that can be a blessing because you have guys who can play freely and express themselves."
*1205 GMT: The story was updated after Cricket Australia issued a statement.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth