Peter Handscomb could be rushed into Australia’s team to face South Africa after Shaun Marsh was ruled out of the World Cup and Glenn Maxwell injured in a horror net session.
Maxwell and Marsh fell victim to Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins short balls within 10 minutes of each other on Thursday (local time), just two days out from Saturday’s must-win clash.
Maxwell was in agony on the ground for around 30 seconds after copping a ball from Starc to the right forearm, before scans cleared him of any serious injury.
Marsh replaced him in the nets, only to have his right wrist broken moments later when he wore one from Cummins.
Handscomb will on Friday travel from Australia A’s camp in Brighton to join the Australian squad in Manchester, after officially replacing Marsh.
Day of mayhem in Manchester. Glenn Maxwell hit on forearm by Mitch Starc. Moments later Shaun Marsh hit on wrist by Pat Cummins. Both left nets immediately & sent for x-rays. World Cup in doubt. Steve Smith hurt finger fielding but seems okay. Vision on @FOXSportsNews @FoxCricket pic.twitter.com/Al2a6FG7BV
— Daniel Garb (@DanielGarb) July 4, 2019
“This is obviously shattering news for Shaun and the squad,” coach Justin Langer said.
“Throughout this tournament, his spirit, professionalism and the way he has competed has been typically outstanding.
“We are right behind Shaun in his recovery and rehabilitation.”
The injuries plunged Australia’s training session into further chaos, after Steve Smith and Jason Behrendorff both suffered minor finger injuries while fielding.
That pair at least both finished training after being taped up and are not in any doubt for Saturday.
The same can’t be said for Maxwell, who will be monitored on Friday before a call is made.
“The scans have cleared Glenn of any serious damage and we’ll continue to monitor him over the coming days,” Langer said.
“We are hopeful he will be fit to perform for us on Saturday against South Africa.”
It means Handscomb could come straight into the side in the last game before finals after Marsh had previously been the only back-up batsman in the squad.
The Victorian had originally been unlucky to miss selection in the initial squad after scoring a century on a tour of India earlier this year.
He has since hit 149 runs at 74.5 for Australia A.
However, it does mean Matt Wade has again been overlooked.
Wade hasn’t played an ODI since 2017 but has hit two blistering centuries in the past two weeks, playing as an opener.
“Pete is a like-for-like player in terms of batting in the middle order,” Langer said.
“He performed very well for us during our recent tours in India and the UAE.”
The injuries are the first serious blow to the top-placed Australians’ World Cup campaign, but come at the wrong time just five days out from the first semi-final.
But captain Aaron Finch said sessions such as those against Starc and Cummins were a necessary evil of professional cricket.
“You still have to prepare every game the same and you don’t want to feel underdone walking out to the middle and facing someone like (Kagiso) Rabada, (Jasprit) Bumrah or Mark Wood,” captain Aaron Finch said.
“You take the good with the bad sometimes.
“If you’re facing the best bowlers in the world in the nets and you’re batting well you know you’re in good hands walking out to the middle against any opposition.”