Young Australian all-rounder Cameron Green will require surgery to repair a fractured right index finger, though surgeons are hopeful the 23-year-old should recover in time to be considered for selection for the Border-Gavaskar series in India beginning on February 9.
However, pace spearhead Mitchell Starc faces a potentially longer stay on the sidelines and will be in a race against time to prove his fitness for the four-Test series in India after he too suffered a finger injury while fielding during the Boxing Day Test against South Africa.
The pair is already out of the third and final Test against South Africa at Sydney.
A report in cricket.com.au said on Thursday after Australia’s innings and 182-run win against the Proteas in the second Test that Green had consulted a specialist, who had recommended surgery.
Green was hit on the finger by an Anrich Nortje bouncer and was forced to retire on day two, but he batted through pain on the third day to score an unbeaten half-century.
Starc, though, does not require surgery for the tendon damage to his left middle finger, but the 32-year-old quick might not be available for the series opener against India in Nagpur on February 9.
“India’s the next big tour and we’ll see where the time frame is with that. It’s my bowling hand so I’ve got to be pretty careful and make sure it heals properly,” Starc was quoted as saying after win against the Proteas.
“The irony is (Green) will be back before I am. Bones are a bit quicker in the healing process, the tendon is a little bit different. I think we’ll both be seeing the same specialist.
“I still think everyone’s confident it will be more front-end (of India tour). It will obviously depend on how it heals and how quickly it can do what it needs to do,” added Starc.
The left-arm pacer bowled through pain as he sent down 18 overs in the second innings and took the wicket of Proteas opener Sarel Erwee.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect. I need the middle finger for control more than anything,” said Starc, who suffered the injury while fielding.
“I’ve had a lot of painkillers. I could have jabbed it (to numb the finger) but I feel like I need the feeling of the ball on finger, otherwise I feel like I would have been spraying it everywhere.
“I’ve played with a broken foot before… it’s Test match cricket. I’ve been on both sides of being injured and then (bowling as part of an attack) with one man down. Having (Cameron) Greeny with a busted finger as well probably helped that decision to try to push through,” he added.