Australia captain Aaron Finch insisted there will be no let-up in the intensity of the champions’ training sessions at the World Cup after ‘friendly fire’ ended batsman Shaun Marsh’s involvement in the tournament.
Marsh suffered a broken arm batting against Australia fast bowler Pat Cummins in the nets at Old Trafford on Thursday ahead of their concluding group match against South Africa on Saturday.
The consolation for Australia, already through to the semi-finals, is Marsh -- who has now been replaced in the squad by Peter Handscomb -- had already fallen out of their first-choice side.
“Shaun is still in surgery at the moment, currently,” Finch told reporters at Old Trafford on Friday.
“So we just wish him a speedy recovery. I think it hit the boys pretty hard yesterday.
“It was just unfortunate that it hit him where it did. An inch lower, an inch higher, and he would be fine.”
Shortly before Marsh’s injury, all-rounder Glenn Maxwell -- batting in the very same net -- was struck a painful blow by left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc, the tournament’s leading wicket-taker.
Asked if the Australia quicks were being fed “red meat”, a smiling Finch replied: “No, it was just one of those freak things. Shaun got a bouncer that sort of followed him a little bit.
“We always pride ourself on competitive net sessions. We think that keeps you very sharp as a batsman in particular and it was one of those unfortunate things.
“Maxxy, the one that he got just didn’t bounce quite as much as he expected, it hit him on the arm, so yeah, it was no fault of anyone really.
“It was guys being competitive in the nets and guys making sure that each and every one’s as prepared to play as and when required.”
Finch, however, was pleased the likes of Starc were not easing up heading into the knockout phase.
“They were out for a really good bowl yesterday having a couple of days off,” he said.
“There’s obviously no malice or anything in it. It was never ideal, but at the end of the day, these things happen in the game.”
Saturday’s match will be the first time Australia batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner have faced South Africa since they were given 12-month bans for their roles in a ball-tampering scandal during a Test match in Cape Town.
But Finch said the fact Australia were playing the Proteas would not provide the pair with any extra incentive.
“I think everyone’s moved on,” he insisted. “There’s definitely never any more or less motivation than international cricket itself.
“It’s coming to the business end of the World Cup. There’s not much more motivation needed from that.”
The ball-tampering affair was one of several unsavoury incidents during a fractious series with a South Africa side prepared to “sledge” back in response to Australia’s verbal taunts.
But Finch was confident he would not have to keep his players in check on Saturday.
“No, there will be no restraint needed,” he insisted. “The spirit in which the World Cup has been played has been unbelievable.
“The sportsmanship, the camaraderie amongst the teams has been outstanding.
“I think Australians and South Africans are quite similar in a lot of ways. They are very competitive people, passionate about the game.”