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Injury worry for Finch for first ODI

14 September 2017

Finch leaves training early in Chennai on Thursday //

Martin Smith, Chennai


Martin Smith, Chennai


Australia may turn to Travis Head or Hilton Cartwright against India if star opener is ruled out due to calf problem

Opener Aaron Finch is in a race against time to be fit for the first ODI against India on Sunday after his injured calf pulled up sore at training in Chennai.

Finch aggravated his right calf during Australia's warm-up at Chepauk Stadium on Thursday and he pulled out of the rest of the session to ice the muscle.

The Victorian had been rested from Australia's warm-up match on Tuesday due to the injury, which he suffered playing for Surrey in England six weeks ago.

Having trained earlier this week, the 30-year-old was expected to play in the series opener, but his absence from training on Thursday puts him in doubt for Sunday's match.

Extended highlights: Australia record huge warm-up win

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 and with Finch's injury not series-ending, Cartwright may be used as a stop-gap opener until the Victorian is fit again. 

Australia have tried six players at No.4 in 10 matches since George Bailey was dropped in January and Saker hopes impressive youngster Head can be a long-term solution.

All 11 Australian tour match maximums

"Hopefully he's the one that can do it," Saker said of the left-hander on Wednesday, before Finch aggravated his calf.

"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, averages more than 40 in ODIs since making his debut in June last year.

Saker on fast bowlers and Indian ODI series

"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, one of Glenn Maxwell or Marcus Stoinis would be in line to fill to No.4 spot.

India 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, 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.

ODI Fixtures

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

T20 Fixtures

October 7: JSCA International Stadium, Ranchi

October 10: Barsapara Stadium, Guwahati

October 13: Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad

About the Writer

Martin Smith is a writer for He previously wrote for Yahoo!7 Sport and Fox Sports.