Australian quick Michael Neser all but ruled out of Pakistan’s Test tour
Sydney : Australian pace bowler Michael Neser will most likely not be on the flight to Pakistan for the three-match Test series, starting March 4 in Rawalpindi, after the 31-year-old suffered a side strain, with no date set for his return to action.A report in cricket.com.au on Wednesday said that the fast bowler, who played an Ashes Test recently, “has been all-but ruled out of Australia’s tour of Pakistan”.With the opening Test only a fortnight away and the team set to leave for the subcontinent soon, leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson will “play an extra round of Shield cricket” to prepare him better for the gruelling three-Test series.The report said that Neser suffered the injury while warming up to bowl during Queensland’s Marsh One-Day Cup match against New South Wales at The Gabba in Brisbane earlier this week. He tried to bowl a couple more deliveries following the setback but had to leave the field in pain.
Wade Seccombe, the Queensland coach, said Neser had scans late on Tuesday “and the state will now work with Cricket Australia’s (CA) medical staff to map out a plan for the 31-year-old”.”It’s bad luck for Michael and we’re hoping he makes a speedy recovery,” Seccombe said on Wednesday. Mark Steketee, also from Queenslander, could be a likely replacement if Neser is ruled out of the Test squad, although CA will wait some more time to take a call on the changes.The 28-year-old Steketee was in the Australia squad for the Test tour of South Africa, which got cancelled in early 2021. He is currently the Sheffield Shield’s leading wicket-taker this season with 29 scalps at 16.31 from five games, according to the report.Australia will have just over 10 days between the fifth and final T20I against Sri Lanka and the Test in Rawalpindi to take a call on Neser.
Australian interim coach Andrew McDonald expressed concern over Neser’s injury, saying, “That’s one of the great challenges without match practice but with the experience that we’ve got in (Josh) Hazlewood, (Mitchell) Starc and (Pat) Cummins, they’re very well versed in shifting formats,” McDonald said.
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