“He’s got a slight hamstring complaint at this stage, so that’s why he missed the practice games and he’ll be touch and go for the first game against India,” McDonald said in Chennai on Thursday while talking about Stoinis. “We’ve got the main session today and then another hit out tomorrow, so he’ll go through his work there and we’ll see whether he’s available for selection for game one but at the moment he wasn’t fit and available for those practice games.”
Australia have an in-form replacement in Cameron Green, but McDonald said one of the plans was to have both in the playing XI.
“There’s a way that we can fit them both into the one side,” he said. “Over the last 18 months, we’ve had a pretty clear way that we want to build three ways of playing. One of those ways is definitely with all the allrounders and potentially two quicks, and you’ve seen that side in the past 18 months being played, so there is a real possibility that both of those players can be in the same XI and we haven’t ruled that out.”
When asked about the other ways, he said: “You can change your batting line-up, you can change the structure of your top order. So behind the scenes, we’re pretty clear on the way that we want to go about it. And that’ll be surface-dependent and clearly body-dependent as well.
“The World Cup is a long campaign, there’s no doubt going to be some sore bodies at certain times. We feel as though with [our] squad that we’ve got great flexibility, albeit at the moment obviously Travis Head sitting and where he’s at, that’ll give us greater scope to shift and manoeuvre the side the way that we have over the last 18 months.”
Despite the plethora of fast-bowling options Australia possess, Stoinis opened the bowling in recent ODIs and T20Is, with encouraging success. That gave them the option of holding back one of their frontline quicks in the middle overs, a phase that could be crucial during the World Cup.
“Cameron Green got a little bit of time in the middle also and clearly Glenn Maxwell being able to cope with the demands of the game that he played, a significant innings plus being able to back up and bowl as many overs as he did. He has pulled up really well. So a few of those moving parts that we had leading in have unfolded positively for us, which is nice. If you asked me that two weeks ago, I would have been a little bit worried but now everything seems to have come together nicely.”
Legspinner Adam Zampa too hasn’t played since pulling up sore in the second ODI in Indore last month but he was not a concern, according to McDonald, and had missed the two warm-ups more for workload management.
Australia will have to wait for an update on Head until October 11 or 12, especially about when he can join the squad in India.