India v Australia ODIs
Handscomb flies in for injured Finch
Aussie opener succumbs to calf problem but will stay in India, with fellow Victorian flying in as cover ahead of Sunday's ODI opener
Martin Smith Chennai
15 September 2017, 03:49 PM AEST
Peter Handscomb has been added to Australia's squad for their Qantas ODI Tour of India as cover for injured opener Aaron Finch.
Finch aggravated a calf injury at training in Chennai on Thursday and a scan has revealed he will need to sit out the early part of the five-match series to rest the injury. But despite initial fears it may have been serious enough to rule him out of the entire tour, the Victorian will remain with the squad with a view to him playing later in the series.
Handscomb, who recently returned to Melbourne following the Test tour of Bangladesh, will depart for India on Saturday and will be available for selection in Sunday's series opener.
Finch had been rested from Australia's warm-up match on Tuesday due to the right calf injury, which he first suffered playing for Surrey in England six weeks ago.
Having trained earlier in the week, the 30-year-old was initially expected to play in the series opener, but Thursday's setback is likely to rule him out of the first three ODIs.
"Aaron re-aggravated his pre-existing calf injury during warm-up at training yesterday," said Bupa Support Team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris.
"He has had a scan in Chennai and although we believe it is not a serious recurrence, he will not be available for the first few one-day matches here in India.
"He will remain with the squad whilst we assess the injury and establish his return to play timelines."
Uncapped allrounder Hilton Cartwright opened in Finch's absence in the warm-up game, but was dismissed for a second-ball duck in Australia's 103-run win. Cartwright opened in one-day cricket for Western Australia last summer, but the Aussies may choose to elevate Travis Head – who scored a century as an opener on Australia Day this year – to the top of the order.
However, stand-in coach David Saker confirmed this week that Head has been earmarked to fill the vacant No.4 role, meaning Cartwright may be used as a stop-gap opener until Finch is fit again.
Australia have tried six players at No.4 in 10 matches since George Bailey was dropped in January, including Handscomb for two matches earlier this year, and Saker hopes impressive youngster Head can be a long-term solution.
"Hopefully he's the one that can do it," Saker said of the left-hander on Wednesday, before Finch aggravated his calf and Handscomb was added to the squad.
"He just seems to keep getting better every time he plays for Australia, so that's a real positive.
"His training ethic is as good as you'd get so it's a good reward for him."
Head, one of four Australians to score a half-century in the tour game on Tuesday, averages more than 40 in ODIs since making his debut in June last year.
"I'm excited by the opportunity to go up the order again," the South Australian said of the shift to No.4.
"I've had a chance at most spots since I've come into the side.
"I feel confident and it was nice to get some time in the middle the other day to get a feel for the wicket and the conditions."
Should the Aussies decide to move Head up to opener, Handscomb would be the man most likely to fill the No.4 spot.
India meanwhile, announced on Thursday they will be without star opener Shikhar Dhawan for the first three games of the series due to personal reasons.
Australia's Qantas Tour of India
Australia ODI squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Patrick Cummins, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.
Australia T20 squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Jason Behrendorff, Dan Christian, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Patrick Cummins, Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa.
India squad (first three ODIs): Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami.
September 17: MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai
September 21: Eden Gardens, Kolkata
September 24: Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore
September 28: M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru
October 1: VCA Stadium, Nagpur
October 7: JSCA International Stadium, Ranchi
October 10: Barsapara Stadium, Guwahati
October 13: Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad