IND v AUS 2020: Mitchell Starc set to return for first T20I, Ashton Agar doubtful 

Mitchell Starc runs in to bowl during training.

Mitchell Starc is likely to return for the first T20I between India and Australia on Friday. According to Australian skipper Aaron Finch, the left-arm pacer missed the third ODI on Wednesday (2nd December) with “back and rib niggles”. In his absence, the Aussies stumbled to a 13-run defeat at the hands of the Indians.

Mitchell Starc hasn’t been at his wicket-taking best against Virat Kohli’s side. The left-arm pacer only managed 1 wicket at a poor economy rate of 8.17 in the first two ODIs.

However, his swing upfront with the new ball and pin-point yorkers in the death overs make him instrumental in the T20 setup.

Mitchell Starc will be donning the new Indigenous jersey owing to an initiative by Cricket Australia to raise awareness about the aboriginal population in the country. He will also wear a special pair of shoes decorated by Australian women’s all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner. 

News of Mitchell Starc’s return has coincided with doubts over spinner Ashton Agar’s availability for the first game. Ashton Agar injured a calf muscle during Wednesday’s run-chase, and scans overnight are set to determine his chances.

If Agar is unavailable, it will break his successful spin partnership with Adam Zampa. The pair have played 15 T20Is together for Australia, with the team winning on nine occasions.

Agar’s unavailability could lead to a mini-headache for Australian management. They can opt to bring in Mitch Swepson, who is currently training with the Australia ‘A’ squad in Sydney, or they can choose to slot in an extra batsman in the eleven.

Glenn Maxwell has been Australia’s go-to off-spinner in recent years. Someone like D’Arcy Short, who has a 5-wicket hall to his name in T20s, or Marnus Labuschagne can also chip in with some overs.

After Friday, India and Australia will play 2 more T20Is on December 6 and 8 in Sydney.

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