Aussie stars sidelined for India T20 series

Injuries have forced three key members of Australia’s upcoming Twenty20 World Cup title defence to withdraw from the three-match series with India, starting on Tuesday.

Mitchell Starc (knee), Marcus Stoinis (side) and Mitch Marsh (ankle) will not travel to the subcontinent, and have been replaced in the squad by Nathan Ellis, Daniel Sams and Sean Abbott.

The injured trio will remain in Australia to prepare for the home World Cup, which begins next month.

Australia allrounder Glenn Maxwell meanwhile, has backed Aaron Finch to return to batting form before then, with the India series as the skipper’s platform.

Finch retired from 50-over cricket last Sunday following a form slump, failing to crack double digits in his past six ODI innings.

“He’ll certainly enjoy having these games in India, he enjoys batting there,” Maxwell told reporters on Wednesday at the launch of the First Nations World Cup kit.

Finch remains captain of the T20 side amid uncertainty over who will take over as ODI skipper.

Test captain Pat Cummins has said it would be unrealistic for him to take up the ODI position full-time, while David Warner flagged his interest, pending his lifetime leadership ban being lifted.

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While his ODI form dropped off, Finch has averaged 30.87 in T20s this year atop the order and Maxwell emphasised his value as skipper.

“Once he gets out on the field and takes control of the team out there, he’s been able to focus on the job at hand really well and that’s a credit to him,” Maxwell said.

“Obviously it wasn’t the easiest time for him in one-day cricket but his attitude has never changed.

“He was brilliant with the strategy side of thing. It’s a very underrated thing in T20.

“Don’t discount his value as captain.”

Fast bowling spearhead Starc said it will be difficult to win back-to-back T20 World Cup titles but is confident about Australia’s chances.

“We have a very similar squad to the one that won 12 months ago,” he said.

“Playing in Australia will be a big part of it, playing in front our home fans, family and friends which comes with that added pressure as well.”

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