Shock Aussie debutant shootout looms after chilling $3.15m prophecy comes to life – Fox Sports

The relentless highs and lows of professional cricket can be unfair and cruel sometimes. Just ask Cameron Green.
On Monday evening, the 23-year-old was celebrating his maiden Test five-wicket haul, having rolled through South Africa’s lower order to claim career-best figures of 5-27 in front of 64,876 fans on Boxing Day.
A few days earlier, he was picked up by the Mumbai Indians for a whopping AU$3.15 million contract in the Indian Premier League Auction, the highest sum for any Australian in history.

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“That’s probably cricket summed up – you can have a really slow start to the summer, you think cricket’s so tough, but then you have a few days like this and it kind of brings you back,“ Green told reporters on Monday evening.
“At the same time, when you go through a high, cricket can bring you back down really quickly.”
Less than 24 hours later, those remarks became chillingly poignant.

Green sustained a fracture after copping a nasty blow to his right index finger while facing Proteas paceman Anrich Nortje on day two of the MCG Test. The West Australian was forced to retire hurt and later sent for scans, with Cricket Australia confirming he will miss the New Year’s Test in Sydney and the Big Bash League.
“He’s got a small fracture to that index finger, so bowling looks not a possibility, but he could potentially come back online for batting,” Australian coach Andrew McDonald told SEN on Wednesday morning.
“So that will be assessed this morning depending on the situation and where the game’s at.”
The injury setback creates a frustrating dilemma for Australia on two fronts. Firstly, Green was shaping as a pivotal bowler in the second innings after Mitchell Starc suffered a finger injury of his own on Monday, damaging a tendon on his bowling hand while attempting a catch.
Now, Australia could be down two strike bowlers while hunting for the 10 wickets needed to secure an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series. Australian captain Pat Cummins could be forced to turn to the part-time spin of Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne more than usual.
“(Starc) will play a role with both bat and ball over the course of the game,” McDonald explained.
“He’ll be limited, his capabilities probably won’t be as full as he would like but he’ll be able to do a role for us, so that’s a positive sign this morning.”

Secondly, Australia could be forced to reshuffle its starting XI for the SCG Test because a like-for-like replacement for Green isn’t immediately apparent.
Mitchell Marsh and Glenn Maxwell would typically be the next all-rounders in line for selection, but both are unavailable due to injury.
It means that West Australian all-rounder Aaron Hardie, who currently averages 44.57 with the bat and 30.80 with the ball at first-class level, is a smokey to earn a Test debut next week.
“Aaron Hardie, he’s behind Cameron Green as an all-rounder, but I’ve watched him for some time. I think he’s an outstanding talent,” former Australian spinner Kerry O’Keeffe told Fox Cricket on Wednesday morning.
“He bats like Cameron Green, very strong down the ground. He bowls quality outswing. He’s in their sights, I’m pretty sure.”
Meanwhile, Michael Neser and Sean Abbott both have prior international experience and are handy with the bat, with three first-class centuries between them.
Lance Morris is also patiently waiting in the wings, and being the like-for-like replacement for Starc, who has also been ruled out of the SCG Test, he is a strong chance of earning a baggy green next week.

“There’s clearly a role there for (Morris) if Mitchell Starc was to go down, so he may be looking like he’ll get an opportunity in Sydney depending on the balance of that attack,” McDonald said.
But the most intriguing option for Australia is selecting two strike spinners for the SCG Test, which has not happened since Nathan Lyon and Steve O’Keefe bowled in tandem against Pakistan in January 2017.
During the most recent Sheffield Shield match at the SCG, more than half of the wickets fell to spin bowlers, suggesting the pitch caters to tweakers.
Queensland leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson is the incumbent second spinner, having accompanied Lyon during recent tours of Pakistan and Sri Lanka, but Victorian young gun Todd Murphy and white-ball superstar Adam Zampa could also be smokies for a Test debut.
O’Keeffe argued that Murphy has edged ahead of Swepson in the pecking order, backing the 22-year-old to make his international debut in Sydney.
“Todd Murphy is the second-best spinner in the country,” O’Keeffe said.
“Will Australia go in with two off-spinners? I would. They may not.

“I still think (Swepson) lacks precision, and going to India, you’ve got to take a precise spinner. Todd Murphy’s a precise spinner, I think he’s ahead of (Swepson) in my mind.”
West Australian spinner Ashton Agar is another contender, and being a verified all-rounder undeniably works in his favour, potentially slotting in at No. 7 and allowing wicketkeeper Alex Carey can slide up to No. 6.
“If we bring a spinner into the squad for Sydney, it will be based on the conditions in Sydney,” McDonald said.
“At the moment, there’s a bit of information that suggests it will be a dryer surface in Sydney, so you could see a spinner added over the next few days.
“There will be an element of what the balance of the attack looks like, so that will be something to weight up, and of course those options will be put to (Cummins) as to how he wants that attack to function as captain.
“We always look to compliment the attack, so it won’t necessarily be the next best spinner. A second spinner role is also there to make sure you’ve got balance in the attack.”

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