Mitchell Starc ruled out finger injury from first test against India

Mitchell Starc is aiming to be fit for the second Test against India in Delhi after confirming he expects to miss the series opener with a finger injury.

Starc’s middle finger on his left hand remains in a splint after he detached the tendon from the bone during the Boxing Day test, leaving him unable to bowl.

The left arm was fast second alongside Pat Cummins on Australia’s recent Test Tours of Asia, where he averages under 30 with his reverse swing.

Starc also plays a crucial supporting role in Australia’s attack, creating footprints for Nathan Lyons spinning the ball as he rounds the wicket.

The 32-year-old was seen as a 50-50 chance to play the first Test at Nagpur on February 9 but admits that is unlikely before the four-match series.

“It’s probably likely (I’ll miss the first test),” Starc told AAP during the launch of Amazon Prime’s The Test documentary.

“We will see how we are placed at the end of the month.

“I hope I’ll be there for the second test if they want to play me. Maybe I can make some footprints for Gazza (Lyon) or something. We’ll see how the finger goes.

Versatile Cameron Green is also expected to join Starc on the sidelines for the first Test, leaving Australia short of bowling substitutes.

Nagpur has traditionally been seen as a big turn wicket, with Jason Krezja taking 12 wickets there on his debut in 2008.

The absence of Green and Starc means Josh Hazlewood is almost certain to play his second Asian Test since 2017, having been overlooked in four of five games in Sri Lanka and Pakistan last year.

Hazlewood impressed on his return from a side stump in Sydney last week, with his reverse swing a feature in both sets.

“No qualms picking (Hazlewood), you know what you’re going to get and it’s quality,” captain Cummins said.

“Getting four or five wickets on that wicket. Every time he played, he looked menacing.

Scott Boland could also come in as a quick third with Green out, given that Travis Head and others can act as spinners, but there are no part-time pace options.

But Cummins said he would have no workload issues traveling to the tests with two sole crimpers in India.

“There, you choose two spinners. You think it will be quite a spinning wicket,” Cummins said.

“Travis Head, Marnus (Labuschagne), Smudge (Steve Smith). They all go into it a little more.

“Usually if you pick two spinners, you don’t expect it to be a long game.”

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