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Richardson setback for already depleted Aussie white-ball side for Pakistan series

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Melbourne, March 22 (IANS) Australia’s right-arm pace bowler Kane Richardson has been ruled out of the white-ball series against Pakistan, beginning in Lahore on March 29, due to a hamstring injury, further depleting the Aaron Finch-led side’s fast-bowling attack for the historic series.

A report in cricket-com.au said on Tuesday that Australia will field “one of their most inexperienced pace attacks in more than 50 years of ODI cricket” during the white-ball tour of the subcontinent, comprising three ODIs and a one-off T20I.

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Left-arm fast bowler Ben Dwarshuis will make his limited-overs debut in place of the 31-year-old Richardson, who suffered the injury during training here on Monday.

The setback comes at a time when pace stalwarts Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Test skipper Pat Cummins will all return home after the third and final Test in Lahore. The report said that while Richardson’s “hamstring twinge is only considered minor”, the Australian selectors decided not to risk him for four games in just eight days.

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Left-arm pacer Jason Behrendorff, who has played just 11 ODIs, is now the most experienced fast bowler in the side, which also has Sean Abbott (two ODIs), Nathan Ellis and now Dwarshuis (both yet to debut).

Spinners Adam Zampa (61 ODIs) and Ashton Agar (15) are also in the squad, while the attack has been bolstered by seam-bowling all-rounders Cameron Green, Marcus Stoinis and Mitchell Marsh.

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This is Australia’s fourth limited-overs tour in five years without at least one of Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins in their squad, with two of those previous instances resulting in a 0-5 series defeat, according to the report.

However, Finch is confident he has the firepower for the series, which will be just the second ODI series Australia will play in the past 15 months. “One thing that will help is the guys have played a lot of T20 cricket,” Finch said of his fast-bowling group on Tuesday ahead of their departure for Pakistan.

“They’re quite inexperienced for Australia but I think playing T20 cricket will help them in that regard. There’s a lot of skill in the group and guys that have been around one-day cricket for a long time domestically as well.

“Having a lot of a lot of faith in their own ability is really important. When you have got guys like Abbott, he’s been around (international cricket) for a long time, Behrendorff (as well) – they’ve played a lot of state cricket, so I think it’ll be fine,” said Finch.

Australia ODI and T20 squad: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey, Ben Dwarshuis, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Ben McDermott, Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa.

Fixtures: March 29: First ODI, Lahore; March 31: Second ODI, Lahore; April 2: Third ODI, Lahore; April 5: Only T20I, Lahore.

–IANS

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