Cricket Australia to look into Starc’s ankle problems

Melbourne, Sep 14 (IANS) Cricket Australia on Monday said it will continue to manage an ankle injury to key fast bowler Mitchell Starc in the hope that he will be able to lead the side’s attack at the World T20 in India next year.

Starc, who has shown impressive resilience this year to play 26 of Australia’s 27 matches across all formats, has been managing bone spurs in his right ankle for some time. The injury has been an ongoing issue for the left-armer and will eventually require surgery, which would mean a recovery period of between three and five months, reported on Monday.

But with Australia to play 10 Tests between October and February ahead of the World T20 in March and April, it is hoped that Starc can continue to manage the pain over the summer and delay surgery until a break in the playing schedule.

“We have got some pretty important cricket coming, including the T20 World Cup, and we would like to see Starc lead the attack for that,” national selector Rodney Marsh said.

“But if he can’t, he can’t. But at the moment the plan is for him to keep going. He has got spurs in his ankle and there is a bit of bone that has broken off and floating and every now and then it gets into a position where it is just chronically painful.

“Eventually it is going to have to be removed, but it will take another three or four months after the operation for him to be able to play again. He had a cortisone injection (after the third ODI) and that took a day or two to take hold and get him pain free. How long that (cortisone) will last and what will happen, it’s in the lap of the gods.”

Starc will enjoy a 10-day break at home this month — the first time he’s been in Australia since mid-April — before heading to Bangladesh for Australia’s two-Test tour next month.

Head Coach Darren Lehmann confirmed Starc would have scans on his ankle upon his return home, adding he was pleased with the world’s No.1 ODI bowler’s ability to push through the non-stop playing schedule. “He’s tired, as we all are,” Lehmann said.

“But I’m pleased he’s got through — that’s the great thing for him. Especially after what he’s gone through in the last few years where he hasn’t played enough cricket (due to injury).”

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