Australia sweat over Mitchell Starc's fitness ahead of one-off T20I against the UAE

Waseem Ahmed 21/10/2018
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Starc is nursing a hamstring injury.

The Oval Grounds of Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Stadium will play host to UAE’s first-ever T20 international against Australia in a one-off match on Monday.

Arranged at a short notice, the match stands to serve as a warm-up for the Aussies ahead of their three-match T20 series against Pakistan.

As UAE and Australia get ready to lock horns for the first time in international cricket, we look at some of the key talking points.

CHANCE FOR UAE TO TEST THEMSELVES

Rohan Mustafa and his men narrowly missed out on qualification to the Asia Cup after going down to Hong Kong in the final of the Qualifiers held in Malaysia.

That defeat deprived them an opportunity to rub shoulders with Asia’s best in India and Pakistan in front of their home fans.

Now, they have been given a chance to test themselves against the formidable Aussies in their own backyard. For coach Dougie Brown, it will be an opportunity to gauge the true strength of a side ranked 13th in T20I cricket currently.

Matches likes these do not come by very often for UAE and they have a chance to grab headlines and give the Aussies a scare.

A big opportunity for Rohan Mustafa and his men.

A big opportunity for Rohan Mustafa and his men.

AUSSIES SEEK WHITE-BALL REDEMPTION

The Test series against Pakistan did not go as well as Justin Langer would have hoped for in his first red-ball assignment as Australia coach. After pulling off an incredible draw in the Dubai Test, the Aussies were handed a crushing 373-run loss at Abu Dhabi.

While the huge defeat has seen the tourists come under severe fire from all quarters, they have a chance to change the script in the upcoming white-ball clashes against Pakistan. A win against the UAE might not be the redemption Australia require after their Test humbling but it could definitely help them sharpen their tools ahead of the three matches against Pakistan who have been in excellent form in the T20 format.

Langer and his men have a chance to change the atmosphere.

Langer and his men have a chance to change the atmosphere.

STARC INJURY SENDS ALARM BELLS RINGING

As if the heavy defeat in the Tests wasn’t enough, Australia have been dealt another blow with star pacer Mitchell Starc nursing a hamstring injury. The left-armer played through the pain and discomfort in the Abu Dhabi Test but his fitness is not something Australia will want to risk, especially with an ODI series against South Africa and a hotly anticipated Test series against India coming up.

Peter Siddle will remain in the UAE as a back up to Starc and the veteran seamer might very well be needed. Expect Starc to sit out the clash on Monday for sure but it will not be a surprise if the pacer plays no further part in Australia’s tour of the UAE.

Starc played through the discomfort in Abu Dhabi.

Starc played through the discomfort in Abu Dhabi.

WHEN: October 22, Monday

WHERE: Oval1, Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi

TIME: 14:00 GST

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Live Cricket Blog: Shaun Marsh receives Justin Langer's support

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Catch all the latest happenings in the world of cricket.

Hello folks. The Sport360 team is in place to bring you all the latest cricket stories including news from the Sri Lanka-England fourth ODI and India-West Indies one-day series.

Don’t forget to leave your comments on Facebook and Twitter pages.

6:30pm – Shaun Marsh receives Justin Langer’s support

To say Shaun Marsh had a dreadful Test series in Australia’s defeat to Pakistan would be an understatement, but coach Justin Langer is backing the left-hander to keep his ODI spot.

The senior of the Marsh siblings’ spot in the squad came under increasing scrutiny following Australia’s heavy 373-run defeat to Pakistan in the second Test at Abu Dhabi.

See Langer’s comments on Marsh here.

Langer is backing Marsh (r) to retain his ODI spot.

Langer is backing Marsh (r) to retain his ODI spot.

5:30pm – Gayle backs APL T20 to go from strength to strength

West Indies stalwart Chris Gayle envisions a bright future for the Afghanistan Premier League (APL) T20 after lending his participation to the inaugural edition being held in Sharjah currently.

Gayle is turning out for the Balkh Legends who stormed into the final of the competition with a thumping 171-run win over Nangarhar Leopards in the semi-final on Friday.

Read what the T20 icon had to say here.

Gayle is turning out for Balkh Legends in the APL.

Gayle is turning out for Balkh Legends in the APL.

5:00pm – Morgan asks England to keep their feet on the ground

England’s one-day bandwagon may continue to roll on after victory over Sri Lanka made it nine series wins in a row but captain Eoin Morgan is keen for his side to stay grounded.

The fourth one-day international followed a familiar pattern in Pallekele, with the world’s number one side proving too good for their hosts but thunderstorms preventing a full game from unfolding.

Read Morgan’s quotes in full here.

England skipper Eoin Morgan.

England skipper Eoin Morgan.

4:30pm – Kohli backs Rayudu to cement number four spot for India

India captain Virat Kohli said Ambati Rayudu can solve his team’s middle order problems if he delivers during the five-match ODI series against the West Indies which begins in Guwahati on Sunday.

Kohli said almost the entire line-up has been decided, but for the tricky No. 4 slot and Rayudu – who managed 175 runs in six games in the Asia Cup in the UAE – is the player Kohli wants to back.

Read Kohli’s pre-match quotes in full here. To read more on Sunday’s clash, read our preview here.

Ambati Rayudu was good during the Asia Cup.

Ambati Rayudu was good during the Asia Cup.

4:15pm – England seal ODI series triumph against Sri Lanka

England sealed the one-day series over Sri Lanka with a third successive win as another deluge and a risible error in the field prevented the hosts fighting back.

Eoin Morgan’s side were almost halfway through their pursuit of 274 when the thunderstorms which have blighted the tour made their way to Pallekele and ensured the result would be decided by the mathematicians once again.

Read more on England’s win in our match report here.

England captain Eoin Morgan (l) and Joe Root ensured victory.

England captain Eoin Morgan (l) and Joe Root ensured victory.

3:30pm – Mashrafe Mortaza won’t take Zimbabwe lightly

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza said his players can’t afford to be complacent in the ODI series against Zimbabwe which starts on Sunday.

The Tigers hold the upper hand against Zimbabwe in Sunday’s match in Dhaka with the African side low on confidence having lost three ODIs and two T20s during their recent tour of South Africa.

Read what the Bangladesh skipper had to say here.

Mashrafe Mortaza.

Mashrafe Mortaza.

3:00pm – Ahmed Shehzad in hot soup with the PCB once again

Batsman Ahmed Shehzad has been served a show cause notice by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for violating the terms of his doping-offence sanctions.

The Pakistan batsman had been handed a four-month backdated ban by the PCB in July this year for failing a dope test.

Read more on this breaking story here.

Ahmed Shehzad is in trouble once again.

Ahmed Shehzad is in trouble once again.

2:30pm – Venkatesh Prasad lauds Afghanistan’s talent in APL

Former India seam bowler Venkatesh Prasad lauded the Afghan talent on show at the Afghanistan Premier League.

Prasad is the coach of the Nangarhar Leopards side that bowed out of the APL T20 tournament in Sharjah after a heavy defeat in the semi-final against Balkh Legends.

Read what Prasad had to say here.

Afghanistan's talent flying high in the APL.

Afghanistan’s talent flying high in the APL.

2:00pm – Praveen Kumar calls time on professional cricket career

Former India seamer Praveen Kumar has announced his retirement from all forms of competitive cricket. The Uttar Pradesh (UP) bowler will only play corporate cricket for Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) post his retirement.

The 32-year-old played six Tests, 68 ODIs and 10 T20s for India over the course of his career since making his international debut in 2007. Kumar’s last appearance for India came all the way back in 2012 in a T20 clash against South Africa.

Read more on this development here.

End of the road for India's Praveen Kumar.

End of the road for India’s Praveen Kumar.

1:30 pm – De Kock moves to Mumbai Indians

Quinton de Kock will turn out for Mumbai Indians in the 2019 edition.

Quinton de Kock will turn out for Mumbai Indians in the 2019 edition.

South Africa’s Quinton de Kock has become the first trade of the 2019 IPL with the wicketkeeper-batsman moving to Mumbai Indians after just one season with Royal Challengers Bangalore.

For more click here.

1:00 pm – Pant set for debut 

India's Rishabh Pant.

India’s Rishabh Pant.

Hard-hitting batsman and wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant seems set to make his India ODI debut in the first match of the five-game series against the West Indies on Sunday.

Pant took to Instagram to announce: “Always ready to give my 100 per cent on a cricket field. Cannot wait to take on the West Indies in the first ODI on Sunday!”

More on it here.

12:30 – Sri Lanka post challenging target

Alex Hales is stumped by Niroshan Dickwella.

Alex Hales is stumped by Niroshan Dickwella.

Sri Lanka posted a challenging total of 273-7 in the fourth ODI against England on Saturday. Opener Niroshan Dickwella scored 52 while all-rounder Dasun Shanaka smashed 66 from as many balls to boost the hosts.

In the chase, the visitors lost Alex Hales early.

For live updates, click here.

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Justin Langer backs Shaun Marsh to come good in white-ball cricket

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Langer is backing Marsh (r) to retain his ODI spot.

To say Shaun Marsh had a dreadful Test series in Australia’s defeat to Pakistan would be an understatement, but coach Justin Langer is backing the left-hander to keep his ODI spot.

The senior of the Marsh siblings’ spot in the squad came under increasing scrutiny following Australia’s heavy 373-run defeat to Pakistan in the second Test at Abu Dhabi.

The 35-year-old could only muster a paltry 14 runs combined from his four innings in the series, but Langer believes that the senior batsman needs to be given time to come good in white-ball cricket ahead of Australia’s home season.

“SOS has obviously had a poor series and he knows that,” Langer told cricket.com.au.

“You can see it in his face he knows he’s had a poor series.

“So then you (have to) get the balancing act right as a selector.”

There have been calls for Marsh to return to Sheffield Shield cricket in a bid to rediscover his red-ball form, but Langer feels that runs in white-ball cricket could help the batsman equally.

Shaun Marsh was horribly out of form in the Test series.

Shaun Marsh was horribly out of form in the Test series.

“On merit, he has to play the one-dayers. In his last five one-day internationals for Australia, he’s scored two hundreds. You’ve got to be fair and reward people for performance,” said Langer.

“On the flipside of that, by playing the one-dayers then he might not play Shield cricket. But having said all that, runs are the currency of value. Whether you’re making them in T20 cricket or one-day cricket or Sheffield Shield cricket or Test cricket. The only currency of value are runs. That’s just the truth of it,” he continued.

Marsh will now be hoping that he can put up the runs when Australia lock horns with South Africa in an ODI series next month.

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