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SYDNEY: Australian pace bowler Mitchell Starc will have surgery later this week on an ankle injury as he races the clock to be fit for the Ashes series against England, Cricket Australia said yesterday.
The left-armer will return from the team’s tour of India early, missing the fourth Test, for the operation.
Australian team doctor Peter Brukner said Starc, who has taken 30 wickets in his nine-Test career, would have bone spurs on his right ankle removed.
“Mitch will have surgery later this week and we’ll assess his recovery as he returns to bowling,” he said in a statement.
Coach Mickey Arthur said they wanted to get the surgery done as soon as possible to ensure he was ready for the Ashes series beginning in July.
“We were aware that Mitch would need surgery at some point in the future to have the spurs removed,” he said.
“He could have continued playing but we want to take a proactive approach in managing Mitch to have him fit for the Ashes series in England.”
Australia are losing the four Test series against India 3-0.
Meanwhile, South Africa have called up Quinton de Kock to their squad for the two remaining one-day internationals against Pakistan.
The 20-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman replaces Faf du Plessis, who will rest a lower back problem that has also ruled him out of the first four weeks of the Indian Premier League, where he plays for the Chennai Super Kings.
“Faf has been troubled by low back pain over the past while,” Proteas team manager Mohammed Moosajee said in a statement released by Cricket South Africa yesterday.
“He was recently diagnosed with bony inflammation in the lumbar spine and a six-week rest period has been advised.”
De Kock played in three one-day internationals against New Zealand in January, where he kept wicket in place of AB de Villiers.
Although the left-hander averaged only 25 with the bat with a highest score of 31, he is viewed as the long-term successor to De Villiers with the gloves.
South Africa lead the five-match series against Pakistan 2-1 with matches to come in Durban tomorrow and Benoni on Sunday.
In another cricket-related development, new Zealand coach coach Mike Hesson said seamer Doug Bracewell will be added to Kiwi squad for the third Test against England if he can prove he is match fit.
Bracewell missed the first two Tests, earning a reprimand from management after he cut his foot while cleaning up broken glass after a house party earlier this month.
Hesson said the 22-year-old would be confirmed in the squad if he came through a one-day domestic fixture in Christchurch today unscathed.
“Doug’s availability creates a real battle for spots for this deciding Test against England,” he said.
“It also helps to manage the workload for a group of bowlers who have carried a heavy load during the first two Tests,” he said.
Whether Bracewell breaks into the playing XI is another matter after captain Brendon McCullum on Monday expressed a preference for sticking with the team that earned draws against England in Dunedin and Wellington.
The rest of the squad is unchanged from the first two Tests. AGENCIES