Australia all-rounder Mitchell Marsh is set to return at No 3 in the first T20 World Cup warm-up against West Indies on Wednesday but will be spared bowling duties as he continues his recovery from an ankle injury.
Marsh’s return is good news for defending champions Australia in the lead-up to the World Cup starting on 16 October, given Marcus Stoinis is still nursing a side strain.
Captain Aaron Finch said he had “nothing” to give on the makeup of the team to play on Wednesday, with all to be revealed at the toss. But he confirmed Marsh’s status as a batsman-only should he be selected for the match at Metricon Stadium.
“He is being managed,” Finch said. “He had his second bowl yesterday and pulled up really well from it. That is a real positive sign.
“[Marsh] has made that No 3 spot his own in T20 cricket and I think the way that he played in the lead-up and through the World Cup is so important to the way we want to play and gives a lot of flexibility through that middle order.”
Finch said Stoinis remained on track to play against England in Perth on Sunday in the first of three T20Is.
“He’s at a level where we think that he’ll be fully fit for that first game against England,” he said. “We were just conscious of the travel with a quick turnaround.
“It can be quite a high-risk game for some guys with some soft-tissue injuries so he’s just still planning and preparing there.”
Should Stoinis and Marsh prove their fitness over the next couple of weeks, Finch said it was unlikely that exciting young all-rounder Cameron Green would play a part at the World Cup.
Green was not included in Australia’s experienced 15-man World Cup squad but travelled with the group to India where he scored half-centuries opening the batting in two out of the three T20Is.
“I am not sure at the moment. I don’t think so,” Finch said. “He had a really good tour of India and it was a good opportunity for him to open the batting. He will get more opportunities.
“The reason we have carried him is to have an extra bowling resource as well. His batting is exceptional and he shows a lot with the ball. He keeps developing and keeps improving every time he gets an opportunity.”
Opener David Warner, who was rested from the India tour, will return against West Indies but Green could still feature in the two-match series given the injury-hit bowling stocks.
“It’s never easy when you’re trying to balance up the side, particularly when the all-rounders aren’t fully fit at the moment,” Finch said.
“So that gives us an opportunity to keep tinkering with the squad. We feel as though we’ve got our best 11 in the back of our mind, but it’s just not everyone’s 100% fit at the moment.”