India A v Australia A - Four-Day
Renshaw stalled by untimely injury
Opener in race against time to prove fitness for Australia A's first-class matches
31 August 2018, 03:50 PM AEST
Matthew Renshaw's bid to continue his Test career against Pakistan in the UAE has taken a hit with the opener battling a hamstring strain on the Australia A tour of India.
Renshaw picked up the injury batting in the one-day series while scoring an unbeaten 42 against South Africa A.
He missed the next two matches, both against India B, including the final where Australia A were soundly beaten by nine wickets, but had been fit enough to take part in light drills.
He batted in a net session in Bengaluru on Friday afternon in a bid to prove his fitness but with his recovery uncertain, fellow Queenslander Marnus Labuschagne has been retained with the squad ahead of Sunday's first four-day match as cover.
Should Renshaw be unable to take his place in the side to face India A on Sunday, it’s understood he’ll target the second match of the series that starts on September 8.
The Test squad for the Qantas Tour of the UAE for a two-match series against Pakistan is expected to be named at the conclusion of the A Tour, with the first Test starting on October 7.
Renshaw’s injury, which comes after he suffered a broken finger earlier this year while playing for Somerset in the UK, is not currently expected to make fitness an issue when it comes to selecting the first Australian Test side since the ill-fated South Africa tour in March.
However, it creates a short-term issue for Australia A with Renshaw the only specialist first-class opener in the squad.
Labuschagne bats at No.3 for the Queensland Bulls in the JLT Sheffield Shield when Usman Khawaja is not in the team, and that pair could now find themselves opening for Australia A.
South Australia captain Travis Head opened the batting for Worcestershire in his stint with the county this winter, but usually bats at No.4 for the Redbacks.
The opening berths in the Australian Test team are one of several unanswered questions ahead of the Pakistan series following the suspensions to David Warner and Cameron Bancroft for their roles in the Cape Town cheating scandal.
Renshaw and fellow Queenslander Joe Burns were parachuted into the side for the Johannesburg Test match.
Renshaw, who has a century and three fifties and an average of 33.47 from 11 Tests, appears likely to open the batting in Pakistan, but Joe Burns' omission for the A Tour makes his return uncertain.
"I spoke with the selectors after the South African series, and everything was really positive there," Burns told cricket.com.au earlier this month. "I guess as a player all you can really do is trust that and prepare accordingly."
Labuschangne's extended stay in India could also have ramifications for Queensland's preparations for their JLT One-Day Cup campaign. The state has already been hit by injury to Jimmy Peirson, who has been ruled out of the tournament following hamstring surgery. And the Bulls will be without any players called up to the Test squad, which could include Khawaja, Renshaw and Burns.
Chris Lynn has confirmed he will return early from the Caribbean Premier League to lead the state, while firebrand quick Billy Stanlake is out to prove a point after a sub-standard and wicketless Australia A one-day series.
Queensland bowlers Brendan Doggett and Michael Neser are also with the Australia A first-class squad in India. Queensland open the JLT Cup tournament on September 16 with a match against Victoria in Townsville.
Australia A Tour of India
Australia A four-day squad: Mitchell Marsh (c), Alex Carey (vc), Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Michael Neser, Joel Paris, Kurtis Patterson, Matthew Renshaw, Mitch Swepson, Chris Tremain
Four-day fixtures in Bengaluru
2-5 September v India A
8-11 September v India A