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Frustrated Starc still waiting for green light

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Australian bowlers keep getting injured in Sri Lanka and only one small issue is holding back Mitchell Starc.

Frustrated Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc still doesn’t know when he’ll play his next match in Sri Lanka as he continues to wait for his sliced-open finger to heal.

Starc required six stitches in the index finger of his left hand, his bowling hand, after slicing it open when it made contact with the spikes on his boot in a freak accident during the opening T20.

The stitches finally came out on Thursday, but there’s still “glue” keeping the wound together, and Starc and the medical staff can’t fully assess how well it has healed.

ICC rules prohibit any bowler wearing tape on their bowling hand in a game and Starc can’t yet bowl without covering the wound.

Knowing the two-match Test series will follow the final three ODIs, with the first Test starting on June 29, Starc hoped to know sooner rather than later whether his preparation would include getting back on the park or just bowling in the nets where he can still wear tape.

“It’s frustrating because I’m fit but I have a cut on an unfortunate spot where I can’t use tape to play,” Starc said before the Australians travelled to Colombo for the third ODI.

“Still holding onto hope that I will (play one of the ODIs). There’s still a fair bit of glue in the wound, that will start to dissolve bit more over the next couple of days.

“I’m still training and bowling and preparing to play, it’s just a matter of where the wound is at with one eye on the Test series and not trying to compromise that.”

Starc conceded there was a “slight worry” he could reopen the wound if he bowled again without tape too early, and with injuries hitting the bowling stocks in Sri Lanka, he didn’t want to return until he could bowl unhindered.

“I feel really good with the ball in hand. I’ve had to bowl at training with the tape on and it‘s purely that I can’t do that in the games due to the ICC rules,” he said.

“Originally, it was a slight worry that if I played again while the stitches were in and fresh that if I did split it further it would have been worse, hence why I am bowling with tape on.

“You can’t quite see the extent of the healing, but we’ll take a few days and assess and come up with a game plan. Still a few days to have to come to a plan. Ideally, it would include ODI cricket.”

Starc conceded the injuries to bowlers, with Kane Richardson, Sean Abbott and all-rounder Marcus Stoinis sent home and Ashton Agar out with a side strain, hadn’t been ideal.

But he was confident with his impending return and Test captain Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and frontline spinners Nathan Lyon and Mitch Swepson available for the Test matches, the Australians weren’t too compromised.

“It’s been a whirlwind couple of days for the group in terms of the injury numbers. We’re fairly fortunate we have the Australia A group with us,” he said.

“But that’s part of international sport and we have to adapt and put our best team on the park and perform.”

Originally published as Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc still waiting for cut finger to fully heal in Sri Lanka

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