Australia pace spearhead Mitchell Starc is likely to miss out on a berth in the starting XI when the team begins their Ashes campaign at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham on Thursday.
Australia head coach Justin Langer revealed Usman Khawaja and James Pattinson were set to play in the opening Ashes encounter.
While Pattinson will return to Test cricket in more than three years, he is likely to partner Pat Cummins with Starc and Josh Hazlewood fighting it out between them and Peter Siddle for the third pacers’ spot.
“There’s probably three to be fair, Starcy (Mitchell Starc), Peter Siddle and Josh Hazlewood, for one spot,” coach Langer was quoted as saying by The Australian.
“Three pretty good players to try to find a spot for, I reckon,” Langer said, adding, “They’re all three great or very, very good bowlers aren’t they.”
With 27 wickets, paceman Starc was the highest wicket-taker at the recently concluded World Cup in England and Wales. The 29-year-old became a nightmare for the batsman to face. His toe-crushing yorkers were also a reason for his successful campaign in the World Cup, with the rattling the stumps of Ben Stokes getting the limelight.
From 51 Test matches he played for Australia, the left-arm fast bowler has picked 211 wickets. Notably, he picked up 22 wickets as Australia whitewashed England 4-0 in the previous Ashes series.
(With inputs from IANS)