Starc a major doubt for Ashes

Australia

Fast bowler Mitchell Starc is unlikely to play in the Ashes series later this year, after a being sidelined for a "prolonged period" by a back injury.

Fast bowler Mitchell Starc is unlikely to play in the Ashes series later this year, after a being sidelined for a "prolonged period" by a back injury.

Starc was in solid form during the recent series against England, clinching 11 wickets in three matches at an average of 32.45. His absence would mar a seam attack already sans the services of the injured James Pattinson and Pat Cummins.

The-inform Ryan Harris, meanwhile, will continue to nurse a hurt hamstring – and fellow right-armer Jackson Bird has been cleared of a severe back injury. He is expected to be available for selection soon.

"Mitch had scans following his arrival back to Australia and they have shown an early stage low back stress fracture. His management plan will be determined in the coming days but he is expected to be unavailable for a prolonged period," said Cricket Australia chief medical officer, doctor Justin Paoloni.

"Jackson returned home from the tour of England with some lower back soreness. We have ruled out a major injury, but will review scans in two weeks to confirm this. We expect that he will be available during The Ashes."

The first Test will get underway in Brisbane on 21 November. Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney will host fixtures two, three, four and five respectively.

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