Australian pacer Starc in line for ODI comeback

Sydney, March 30 (IANS) Left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc has returned to the Australian One-Day International (ODI) squad for the tri-series against West Indies and South Africa in the Caribbean in June.

Starc has been out of action for four months after surgery on a long-running ankle injury. The 26-year-old’s absence was keenly felt by the Australian T20 squad at the ongoing World Twenty20 in India where the team did not qualify for the semi-finals after losing to the hosts in their final group match.

“Mitchell has progressed very well in his rehab and the medical staff are confident he will be fit to play in this series,” chief selector Rod Marsh was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday.

“It is extremely pleasing to have a bowler of his calibre back in the side.”

Starc’s return will boost the impressive Australian pace line-up which also features Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Coulter-Nile and John Hastings.

Big-hitting Travis Head is another notable inclusion in the 16-man Australian squad. The 22-year-old from South Australia has earned his maiden call-up to the ODI squad, having already made his Twenty20 International debut earlier this year due to impressive performances in the Big Bash League.

The talented left-hander was also named Sheffield Shield player of the year recently. He replaces the experienced Shaun Marsh, who was not considered for selection due to the impending birth of his first child.

“Travis has put in some match-winning performances in all three formats of the game this summer,” Marsh said. “He is an exciting young batsman with a bright future and if he gets his opportunity I have no doubt he will make the most of it.”

Test off-spinner Nathan Lyon, who was overlooked for the World T20, has been given another chance to show his mettle in limited-overs cricket. The 28-year-old will spearhead the Australian spin attack in the Carribean along with rookie leg-spinner Adam Zampa.

“Nathan has bowled very well in the West Indies in the past and we are predicting we will see some slow, turning pitches,” Marsh said.

All-rounders Glenn Maxwell, Mitch Marsh and James Faulkner have retained their places in the squad.

Australia ODI squad: Steve Smith (captain), David Warner, George Bailey, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, John Hastings, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.

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