Australia captain Steve Smith thinks Mitchell Starc will be fit to face South Africa in November despite a freak accident in training last week that left the pace bowler with a “gruesome” injury.
Left-armer Starc required 30 stitches last Thursday to close a gash in his left leg caused by a stump that had been dug into the ground at Hurstville Oval in south Sydney and will be in a leg brace for another two weeks.
“It wasn’t nice at all,” Smith told reporters on Monday ahead of Australia’s departure for South Africa, where they will play a lone one-dayer against Ireland followed by five ODIs against the hosts.
“It was actually probably one of the most gruesome things I have ever seen.
“I guess for Mitch, he’s got no tendon or ligament damage so given everything goes well over the next couple of weeks, we’re confident that’ll he be okay for the first test match.”
Starc, who was being rested from the trip to South Africa along with fellow quick Josh Hazlewood, has established himself as the leader of Australia’s pace attack in all three forms of the game over the last couple of years.
The 26-year-old’s absence for the first of three tests against the Proteas in Perth from Nov 3 would be a major setback for the hosts, who also face the South Africans in Hobart and a day-night match in Adelaide.
“It was just one of those things,” Smith said. “You go for the ball and almost block everything out. As he was catching it a few of us were saying ‘don’t go for it’ but he took the catch and then what happened after that wasn’t great.
“He wasn’t overly impressed, but when things like that happen, particularly when he was about to have a bit of a rest and chill out, those are the kind of things you don’t want happening.”
Smith has also had a chance to rest after being brought home early from Sri Lanka in a move that was heavily criticised in the media.
” I think we could have got the messaging across a fair bit better,” Smith admitted. “We knew a fair way out that I was going to leave after the second one-day game.
“The fact we only brought it out the day before probably shocked a few people.
“It will do me the world of good looking at what’s coming up.”