Ashes injury watch: Australia sweat on the fitness of several players


Top-order batsman Shaun Marsh, who has a shot at being involved in the 2021/22 Ashes series against England, suffered an injury blow recently.

Marsh will miss the start of the Melbourne Renegades Big Bash League campaign after he strained his calf running between the wickets in Western Australia’s Sheffield Shield win over Queensland at the Gabba last week.

He sustained the injury on day one, and although he would return to complete his first innings, Marsh wasn’t required to bat as WA completed the win off the back of a fiery spell from Jhye Richardson.

WA Cricket head physio Nick Jones told reporters that Marsh was set for an extended stint on the sidelines.

“Shaun Marsh has sustained a high-grade left calf muscle injury that we expect will keep him out for approximately six weeks,” he said.

The 38-year-old hasn’t played Test cricket for Australia since 2019 but is yet to retire from the international game.

Marsh has returned a modest yield in First Class cricket this season but will be a big miss for the Renegades.

Neser’s Ashes hopes are alive

Meanwhile in the race for pace bowling slots in the Ashes group, Michael Neser is back on track as he returned to training following a hamstring injury.

Neser’s hopes have been boosted by the retirement of James Pattinson and insiders have revealed that he is likely to be named in Australia’s expanded Ashes training group which will be named this week.

Australia’s fast bowling reserves have taken a hit with Pattinson making himself unavailable and Brendan Doggett, veteran seamer Trent Copeland and Joel Paris also suffering injuries in the Shieffield Shield.

There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding Australia’s Ashes team, with skipper Tim Paine having undergone surgery to repair a pinched nerve in his neck a few months ago.

Alex Carey had been set to debut for Australia on the Test tour of South Africa earlier this year that was cancelled at the 11th hour.

Australia also cancelled what was set to be the only earnest Test preparation ahead of the Ashes in the form of a one-off Test against Afghanistan.