Cricket: Australian selectors name six new players for upcoming tours, expect weary stars to pull out

Australia are expected to be without up to six frontline players for their upcoming dual T20 tours of West Indies and Bangladesh as injuries and time in biosecurity bubbles take a brutal toll.

Steve Smith is among several players expected to withdraw from the squad for the West Indies and Bangladesh tours at the end of the month.

Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis are also among those considered unlikely to get on the plane.

Smith is understood to be suffering from an elbow condition and is being managed ahead of the T20 World Cup and an Ashes summer.

The batsman had elbow surgery in January 2019 on the eve of his return to the team and was again sidelined from state duties late in the summer.

Australia is set to play 10 T20s across the two tours, crucial warm-up games for the T20 World Cup in November that is set to be staged in the United Arab Emirates.

Pat Cummins and David Warner are also due to withdraw from the white-ball tour for personal reasons. Vice-captain Cummins’s partner is expecting their first baby and Warner has been granted time with his wife and three children given the amount of time he has spent — and will spend — in biosecurity bubbles.

There are also suggestions Cummins could be carrying an injury.

It is going to be interesting to see if the big names who do not travel to the West Indies choose to return to the IPL when it recommences in September.

Meanwhile, veteran all-rounder Dan Christian and young star Cameron Green were among six players added to the preliminary 23-man squad.

“The six additions to the Qantas Australian men’s squad follow discussions with players selected in the initial preliminary list for the tours of the West Indies and Bangladesh,” national selection chairman Trevor Hohns said.

“During the course of those discussions, it has become clear that recent experiences abroad, including but not limited to extended periods in biosecure hubs and hard quarantine, have had an impact on the health and wellbeing of some players and their families.

“CA has maintained that the wellbeing of players, staff and officials is a top priority and never more so than during the Covid-19 pandemic given the extraordinary challenges it has placed upon international athletes and sporting teams.”

Ben McDermott, Ashton Turner, Wes Agar and Nathan Ellis are the other players added to the group.

Christian and McDermott are in the UK with Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire respectively and will return to Australia this week to complete the mandatory two-week quarantine period before the final squad’s scheduled departure for the Caribbean in late June.

But batting star Marnus Labuschagne, who is with Glamorgan in the UK, was again overlooked because of the logistic complexities relating to travel and quarantine for the Test star.

“With Covid, the amount of quarantine that is needed for me to play in those games is almost 38 days,” Labuschagne told The Times this week.

“Any time you can’t go to play for Australia is a very disappointing time, but the silver lining is that I get to play most of the T20 comp here and almost double the amount of T20s I have played in my career. I’ve played 16 before and I will play 14 here.

“I would love to be playing in the World Cup in a few months. I don’t know if it is a realistic goal from the selectors, but it is a realistic goal from my perspective.”

The final touring party will be cut prior to the squad taking a chartered flight to the West Indies on June 28.

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