COLOMBO: Australia pace spearhead Mitchell Starc hit the training session at Pallekele stadium ahead of the five-match One-day International series against Sri Lanka, but it's unlikely he will be a part of the playing XI for the opener later on Tuesday despite the hosts woefully short of quick bowlers.
The reason he could be left out is the fact that the injured index finger of the bowling arm is still taped and International Cricket Council (ICC) regulations "prevent him from playing the opening match", a report in cricket.com.au said on Tuesday.
Australia's pace bowling stock has been severely depleted on the tour because of injuries to four players in the space of a week. And even while Starc might be fit for the game, Australia "will not be permitted to" play one of their best 50-over bowlers, the report said.
The 32-year-old pace mainstay suffered a deep gash in the index finger of his left bowling hand in the opening over of the T20 series. He subsequently did not play the remaining T20Is and, while the injury may have healed somewhat and he could be fit to bowl with a taped finger, the sport's global governing body regulations prevent it.
Under ICC Laws, "protection for the hand or fingers may be worn only with the consent of the umpires", the report said, adding that "under guidance notes for match officials issued by the International Cricket Council, umpires take a much sterner view for bowlers and tape on the fingers of the bowling hand is effectively outlawed."
Australia were planning to play three quicks -- Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Test skipper Pat Cummins -- in the opening ODI to put pressure on the opposition from the first game itself, but given the situation they'll have to look for an alternative to Starc.
"It is certainly (a) testing (situation)," said captain Aaron Finch, adding that Starc and Mitchell Marsh would likely to be available from the third ODI onwards."