SYDNEY – Australian pace spearhead Mitchell Starc has been cleared of a major foot injury, but remains in doubt for the Boxing Day Test, reports said on Wednesday.
Scans confirmed he only has a bruised heel after he was seen hobbling on crutches as he left Perth after Australia claimed the Ashes by beating England by an innings and 41 runs in the third Test this week.
The injury was assessed in Sydney on Wednesday and the paceman was “cleared of serious injury”, cricket.com.au said, adding that he would link up with Australia’s 13-man squad later this week in Melbourne.
But local reports said Starc still remained a doubt to play, with Jackson Bird likely to replace him should he fail to recover.
“We’d love to win 5-0 and have the big three (Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood) going all the time,” skipper Steve Smith said after the Perth win.
“But we’ve also got an important tour to South Africa after this series, which we’d love to have him (Starc) available for.”
Meanwhile, the BBC said seamer Craig Overton was also a doubt for Melbourne, where England will be desperate to salvage some pride.
Overton, who made his debut in the second match of the series in Adelaide, is still struggling after being hit in the ribs by a Cummins bouncer.
“We’re going to assess it over the next couple of days,” he told the broadcaster.
“Melbourne might be a push, but it’s still an option to play at the minute.”