Sydney [Australia], January 29 (ANI): Australia all-rounder Cameron Green might come up short on his bowling fitness as he eyes to be match-ready for the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar trophy against hosts India.
Green has been training with the team in Sydney ahead of the Test match in Nagpur to regain match fitness to force his way into the playing eleven for the first Test and will be hoping to hear good news from the surgeon for his broken finger which he sustained against South Africa during the Melbourne Test last month.
Early in his professional career, Green has shown himself to be a cricketer who relishes the tempo of consistently playing long-form. He has improved over the course of the summer in both the Test matches this season and the Ashes from a year ago.
In Melbourne, he took five wickets against South Africa before fracturing his finger. The all-rounder came in to bat and managed to make a crucial unbeaten fifty, playing with the injured finger.
"Where he's positioned at the moment, his biggest challenge is bowling. There is a lack of loading there, and one of the key reasons around us getting into this camp early is to make sure that we're ready to go for the rigours of what the bowling unit [is] going to encompass. Building confidence is the main thing, setting him up to succeed in that first Test match, having enough time, that will be the critical question," Australia head coach Andrew McDonald said as quoted by ESPN.
Green would be regarded as a specialist batter, though, if his bowling does not quite measure up. Last year, he demonstrated his aptitude for catching up quickly on the subcontinent with key half-centuries in Lahore and, in Galle, where he won Player of the Match on a tricky surface.
The all-rounder, though is essential in balancing Australia's side. The selectors will have to choose whether to stick with a two-quick, two-spinner balance, as they did against South Africa at the SCG, or to support their usual strength in pace with an additional quick, if he is unable to bowl (or play).
McDonald however, ruled out using three specialised spinners despite Green's inability to bowl.
Matt Renshaw and Peter Handscomb, who both played at the SCG, are other options for the Ausssies at No 6 if Green isn't seen as a specialist batter, with the latter complementing a plethora of left-handers who might be working in his favour.
"We see him [Handscomb] as an important right-hand option. We've got a lot of left-handers. If there were to be any late changes, or Cameron Green doesn't make that first Test, we feel we have some good options," McDonald said.
Mitchell Starc, Australia's other major injury concern, is expected to be ready for the second Test in Delhi on February 17, however, there is a discussion about sending him out earlier than originally intended.
Starc also sustained a finger injury at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) and has been bowling with protection in practice, but will be not permitted to do so during a game.
McDonald described his progress as remarkable while mentioning that there is still a set time frame for his return.
"The guard needs to stay on. Really protecting against the knock that would then re-injure that ligament. That's why it's a clear-cut deadline to mitigate against any of that risk. We can't accelerate that, to be honest. It's probably frustrating for Mitch that he feels that good. But the good thing is when he does get out of the splint all his workloads are going to be up to speed and it will be pretty much into that second Test, which is good news to us," McDonald said.
Australia will be touring India for the Border-Gavaskar trophy which will feature four tests, commencing from February 9 in Nagpur. (ANI)