Australia will play India in a four-match Test series, starting February 9 in Nagpur, and there is a high chance that impressive Cameron Green, who is currently nursing an injury, wouldn’t be able to make it to the playing XI. Currently, Green is a part of Australia’s training camp in Sydney where the doctors are monitoring his broken finger suffered against South Africa at the MCG, but head coach Andrew McDonald stated that bowling has been an issue for the Western Australian batter.
"Where he's positioned at the moment, his biggest challenge is bowling. There is a lack of loading there, and one of the key reasons around us getting into this camp early is to make sure that we're ready to go for the rigours of what the bowling unit [is] going to encompass. Building confidence is the main thing, setting him up to succeed in that first Test match, having enough time, that will be the critical question,” Australia head coach Andrew McDonald said.
However, Green still offers more value to the side as a pure batter. In Lahore and Galle last year, Green scored vital half-centuries to confirm to the fact that he is good enough to be considered as the No.6 even though his bowling is important to the side from a combination perspective.
"We value his batting first and foremost really, he's a batter in our top six and we value that, his bowling is a bonus. A very nice bonus," McDonald said.
"We see him [Handscomb] as an important right-hand option," McDonald said. "We've got a lot of left handers. If there were to be any late changes, or Cameron Green doesn't make that first Test, we feel we have some good options."
What has come as a big setback for the Aussies is that Mitchell Starc has been ruled out from the opening Test in Nagpur as he is recovering from tendon damage to his left middle finger. However, McDonald feels that Starc should be up to the test for the second Test in Delhi.
"The guard needs to stay on. Really protecting against the knock that would then re-injure that ligament," McDonald said. "That's why it's a clear cut deadline to mitigate against any of that risk.
"We can't accelerate that to be honest. It's probably frustrating for Mitch that he feels that good. But the good thing is when he does get out of the splint all his workloads are going to be up to speed and it will be pretty much into that second Test, which is good news to us."
David Warner hasn’t had a productive few months on and off the cricket field. While he scored a majestic double century in his 100th Test match, it was a very moderate summer for the New South Welshman who failed to replicate the magic he has been doing for the last few years. Off the field, he failed to overturn a captaincy ban decision in a somewhat controversial manner, which took a mental toll on him. Ahead of the Border Gavaskar Trophy tour of India, which needs Warner to be at his very best, the left-handed opener suggested that he is “tired and exhausted” and might as well skip the Cricket Australia awards this Monday to recover from a busy home summer.
"I think any time a player expresses that at any point of time, that's fair and reasonable," he said. "If he's feeling tired and fatigued, there's an obvious reason for that. It's been a long Test summer. He's had some off-field issues that's played out and taken some strain, some mental energy away from him.
“And he's put some time into the Big Bash, and I think he's done a fantastic job, along with other players, in representing the Australian cricket team throughout the Big Bash, I think that's been a really positive sign. Our challenge will be to manage him into that first Test match, no different to any other series where you'll have players come in at different stages in term of fatigue."