Australia are hoping scan results will confirm injuries to Shaun Marsh and James Pattinson won’t threaten the make-up of the Test squad.
Australian batsman Shaun Marsh is sweating on scan results on Tuesday to confirm he’ll be on the plane for February’s Test tour of South Africa.
Marsh, who has endured a frustrating injury history, shapes as the most worrying of three fitness problems for Australia, as the Ashes champions look to avoid any last-minute setbacks ahead of the majority of the squad departing on Wednesday.
Australia are confident Marsh (calf) and James Faulkner (knee) will be fine for the three Test series starting on February 12, however scan results aren’t expected until Tuesday morning.
In good news for Australia, it seems fast bowler Jackson Bird will be fully fit for the start of the tour, despite jarring his back in the last Big Bash League match he played for the Melbourne Stars.
Marsh flew home to Perth for scans and treatment, and will be crossing his fingers, desperate to take up his opportunity after he was a surprise inclusion in Australia’s 15-man squad.
The 30-year-old has previously battled back, hamstring and knee problems, with a back problem cruelling the left-hander last time he was in South Africa in 2011.
Faulkner is the only member of the Australian Test squad who won’t fly on Wednesday, but he’s now highly unlikely to take his place in the T20 international in Hobart that same day.
The talented allrounder didn’t travel with the Australian side on Monday, remaining in Melbourne for scans after pulling up with a sore knee in the Australia Day ODI.
Australia won’t be taking any risks with match-winner Faulkner in the three T20s against England, given the South African Test series and the Twenty20 World Cup are looming large.
Wicketkeeper Matt Wade backed up the sentiment of captain Michael Clarke that Marsh and Faulkner were nursing only minor problems.
“They’re OK, I think they’re having scans today so we’ll find out more throughout the next 24 hours,” Wade said.
“But I think they’re all right.
“Hopefully they’ll come up good.”
Bird was pulled out of a Western Australian second XI team to tackle Queensland’s second XI in Brisbane on Monday, given it was a back injury which prematurely ended his 2013 Ashes tour of the UK.
However, there doesn’t appear to be any evidence of a recurring problem with Bird.
His omission in the WA side allowed another Test quick, and rival state export, James Pattinson to fly in to replace him and get some red-ball miles under his belt ahead of the South African tour.
Pattinson took 2-33 from 18 overs, knocking over Queensland opener Luke Pomersbach for a duck.
Front-line Australian pacemen Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle are playing alongside each other for Queensland, and made 30 and 36 with the bat respectively – Harris then taking a wicket with his first ball.
Meanwhile, Australian opener Chris Rogers will be looking for runs in his guest appearance for a South Australian second XI on Tuesday, going up against Test spinner Nathan Lyon for NSW.