Australia's fast-bowling depth will be tested when the National Selection Panel reveals the squad for their next one-day international assignment early next week.
Following the decision to rest pace duo Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood ahead of the home summer, Australia are set to face the upcoming Qantas Tour of South Africa with five of their leading one-day quicks on the sidelines.
Quick Single: Paces aces to rest up for home series
Nathan Coulter-Nile was recently sent home from Sri Lanka with a bone stress injury in his back that will require a lengthy rehabilitation process, while exciting young tearaways James Pattinson and Pat Cummins continue their recovery from an extended period away from the game due to shin and back issues respectively.
As well as those five key quicks, young prospects Joel Paris (shin), Jason Behrendorff (back) and Sean Abbott (ankle) all find themselves at varying stages of their return from injury and it would seem unlikely that they would be called upon for the elite level at this stage.
John Hastings showed his ever-improving one-day ability with a career-best haul in the series-clinching victory in Dambulla this week, and is all but assured of a seat on the plane to South Africa, while Scott Boland is another with plenty of recent experience under
Things look far more promising for the home summer when several of those players should be back in action, particularly Cummins who is set for the Matador Cup.
Quick Single: Cummins ready to charge into Matador
Australia will tour South Africa for one ODI against Ireland and a series of five 50-over matches against the Proteas starting on 27 September.
Ahead of the squad announcement after the final ODI in Sri Lanka on Sunday night, we take a look at the six leading candidates to fill the big shoes vacated by Starc and Hazlewood.
The List-A record: Matches: 55 | Wickets: 93 | Average: 25.9 | Economy: 4.9 | Best bowling: 6-48
The form: Five wickets in four matches for Australia A in the one-day quadrangular series in Queensland's north over the past few weeks, while conceding just 4.17 runs per over.
The reason: Richardson would have been the fast-bowling standout of last season's Matador Cup competition if it wasn't for the absurdity of Starc's output, while the South Australian also took one of the new balls in an ODI against New Zealand in February before he was struck down by a bone stress injury in his back. Richardson's ability to consistently find a yorker when required makes him a likely addition to a squad in search of a fast-bowling spearhead.
The quote: "Being a specialist death bowler, it doesn't automatically guarantee you a game because there's a lot of people out there. You've almost got to be the best bowler you can be and not pigeon-hole yourself in one stage of the game," Richardson speaking on cricket.com.au's The Unplayable Podcast yesterday.
The List-A record: Matches: 55 | Wickets: 81 | Average: 30.44 | Economy: 5.19 | Best bowling: 4-27
The form: Cutting's most recent competitive foray came on one of the biggest stages in cricket as he blasted a quick-fire 39 not out and chipped in with two vital wickets in the Sunrisers Hyderabad's triumph in the Indian Premier League final.
The reason: Just like Richardson, Cutting actually featured in Australia's last one-day adventure to Africa in the tri-series with Zimbabwe and the Proteas in 2014. The Queenslander would add some firepower to the bowling attack, while providing some serious power-hitting in the lower order that could be used as an x-factor when the occasion arises.
The quote: "He had a little bit of a lull but I think what we've seen in the last little while is that he's starting to come back," New Zealand great Brendon McCullum on his Brisbane Heat teammate for BBL|06.
(New South Wales)
The List-A record: Matches: 39 | Wickets: 63 | Average: 22.92 | Economy: 4.83 | Best bowling: 5-35
The form: It's been a rather quiet winter for Sandhu after a difficult summer that saw him left out of NSW's Matador Cup final, as well as the Sydney Thunder's breakthrough BBL title in January.
The reason: While form would suggest Sandhu is a long shot to earn a recall to the national outfit this month, he does boast a one-day domestic record to match just about anyone. Only the great Dennis Lillee (16.89) and Geoff Dymock (19.20) can claim a better bowling average than Sandhu's 20.83 in the history of Australia's one-day domestic competition. Also, it took an attack of Starc, Hazlewod, Nathan Lyon, Steve O'Keefe and Sean Abbott to keep Sandhu out of the Blues' 50-over side last year and that attack would get the better of most international teams.
The quote: "He thinks really well, he thinks about what ball he's going to bowl. He's got good variety, (and) he's a big improver," said selector Mark Waugh last year.
The List-A record: Matches: 8 | Wickets: 14 | Average: 23.14 | Economy: 4.69 | Best bowling: 5-25
The form: Tremain has been a shining light in the recent Australia A' series in north Queensland, having collected three bags of five wickets – including two in the one-day series – to put his hand up for higher honours. As well as a team-high 12 wickets with the Australia A one-day squad, Tremain has also managed to keep the runs relatively under control at an economy rate of 4.48.
The reason: While Tremain didn't feature in Victoria's Matador Cup squad last season – boasting a pace attack of James Pattinson, John Hastings, Scott Boland and Dan Christian – he did show his class to lead the wicket-takers list for the eventual Sheffield Shield champions. Half of Tremain's career List-A matches have been in the past three weeks, but selectors could opt for a bolter in South Africa to find out how the 25-year-old handles the deep end.
The quote: "As a one-day bowler, I've still got so much I've got to do and learn, but the catch-22 of that is I've got to play to learn," Tremain said recently during the ongoing 'A' series.
The List-A record: Matches: 23 | Wickets: 23 | Average: 41.73 | Economy: 5.11 | Best bowling: 4-58
The form: Mennie is another standout member of the current 'A' squad in Queensland with the Redbacks quick collecting back-to-back five-wicket hauls in the first-class action, and has also impressed in the 50-over matches. Most impressively, Mennie is conceding a team-best 3.41 runs per over in his two appearances so far with the rather unique front-on action that has nagged away at batsman around the country for the past few years.
The reason: A solid display in last year's Matador Cup to help the South Australians make it through to the final was surpassed by his efforts in the Sheffield Shield where he led the competition with 51 wickets in 11 matches. It would be a big leap of faith from the selectors to give the 27-year-old the nod, but Mennie has proven in the past that he's not averse to proving people wrong.
The quote: "It's awesome to actually play with Joe for a change. We've always had that issue when we've played against him that he's just so hard to score off," said Australia A skipper Peter Handscomb in early August.
The List-A record: Matches: 14 | Wickets 15 | Average: 36.6 | Economy: 4.62 | Best bowling: 3-39
The form: Bird claimed two wickets in his sole appearance of the Sri Lankan tour in the pre-Test tour match, preceded by a strong showing for Nottinghamshire in the County Championship during the Australian winter. He hasn't featured in a 50-over fixture in nearly 11 months.
The reason: The Tasmania seamer has spent most of the past two months in amongst the national team as a member of the touring party in Sri Lanka and would slot in seamlessly for the South African tour, even with the change in format.
The quote: "He just nibbled it enough to cause a bit of havoc and then obviously with the new ball as well. Sometimes when you do too much you don't get the wickets," New Zealand's Corey Anderson praised Bird during the Test series across the Tasman earlier this year.