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Starc injured, O'Keefe out of Test squad

Mitchell Starc will miss Australia's Test tour of Bangladesh because of injury, while spinner Steve O'Keefe has been axed.

Starc injured, O'Keefe out of Test squad

Mitchell Starc will miss Australia's Test tour of Bangladesh because of injury, while spinner Steve O'Keefe has been axed.

Australia have suffered a major setback ahead of this year's Ashes, with Mitchell Starc to miss the Test tour of Bangladesh because of the same foot injury that had forced him to return home in March from India.

Australia have named a 13-man squad for the two-Test series that starts on August 27. Steve O'Keefe was discarded in favour of fellow left-arm spinner Ashton Agar, while allrounder Hilton Cartwright and paceman James Pattinson were recalled.

O'Keefe's international career is likely to be over despite a starring role in Australia's breakthrough Test win in India, with selectors making it clear they want to look to the future after dumping the 32-year-old spinner.

Shaun Marsh wasn't included in the squad, meaning a return for Usman Khawaja to the Test XI, but the most notable omission was Starc.

The left-armer missed the third and fourth Tests against India earlier this year because of a stress fracture in his right foot.

The 27-year-old returned from the injury earlier this month during the Champions Trophy, already prompting questions on why he was rushed back for the one-day tournament.

"Mitchell was due to go for follow-up scans after the Champions Trophy, as part of his recovery plan. These scans have indicated his previous stress fracture has still not fully healed to the extent we would like," team physio David Beakely said.

"He will now undertake a period of rest from bowling with the aim to have him return for the one-day series in India in late September as he begins his build-up to the Ashes."

Starc has endured a wretched run of injuries since undergoing major ankle surgery in December, 2015. He was racing the clock to be fit for the 2016-17 home summer because of a training accident that required 30 stitches in his left leg.

Selectors will add another paceman to the Bangladesh touring party after next month's Australia A series in South Africa.

Uncertainty still clouds the trip to Bangladesh because of security concerns and the ongoing pay spat but, at this stage, Cricket Australia is confident it will proceed as planned.

Cartwright, dumped after making his Test debut early this year at the SCG, has clambered above Moises Henriques and Marcus Stoinis in Australia's allrounder pecking order.

Agar toured India this year but was restricted to drinks duty. He is finally set to resume a Test career that had started during the 2013 Ashes in such memorable fashion.

O'Keefe broke all manner of records with match figures of 12-70 in Pune, spinning Australia to their first Test win since 2004 in India, but was fined for a drunken tirade at a Cricket NSW function soon after returning home and his cards appeared to have been marked.

"While Steve O'Keefe bowled well in Pune, he did not maintain this level in the remaining matches of the series and we believe the timing is right for Ashton," chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said.

"His bowling is at a level where he deserves to be playing on the highest stage."

AUSTRALIA'S 13-MAN TEST SQUAD FOR BANGLADESH:

Steve Smith (capt), David Warner, Matt Renshaw, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Hilton Cartwright, Matthew Wade, Pat Cummins, James Pattinson, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Ashton Agar.


AAP




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