Ashes 2017: Mitchell Starc back in training, Steve Smith skips nets with sore back

first_imgAustralia got a major boost on Tuesday when Mitchell Starc hit the nets at the Sydney Cricket Ground and also took part in fielding drills which suggest that the fast bowler could make the final XI in the fifth and final Ashes Test at Sydney starting January 4.However, captain Steve Smith decided to skip the nets session with a sore back but hoped to train with the team on Wednesday.Starc was forced to sit out of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne after suffering a heel injury in the third Test at Perth.The 27-year-old returned home on crutches after bowling with a bruised heel on day four and five of the WACA Test, which Australia went on to win by an innings and 41 runs to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series.Fellow pacer Pat Cummins revealed that Starc was quite confident to make a return to the side for the series finale.”I haven’t spoken to him but he looked like he was bowling quick, running around and not limping. He’s really keen to play and pretty confident he can play. They’ll see how he recovers. The last couple of weeks it’s certainly got a lot better,” quoted Cummins, as saying.”He’s played a lot of cricket now. He knows his body pretty well and what he can get through,” he added.Starc led the Aussie bowling attack outstandingly well in the first three Test matches having taken 19 wickets at an average of 21.05 with one five-wicket haul. He is still the leading wicket-taker in the series despite not playing the fourth Test.advertisementDespite Cummins expressing confidence on his fellow teammate’s return, national selectors and team doctor would take several factors into consideration before making a final call on his inclusion.Meanwhile, former great Glenn McGrath warned national selectors to not risk Starc for the final Ashes Test with a tour of South Africa looming.”You’d love Mitchell Starc to be playing. If he’s 100 per cent fit I’d play him. If he’s not quite there then unfortunately they might have to let him have a rest and have him get ready for South Africa,” McGrath said.Australia are currently leading the five-match series 3-0 after the fourth Ashes Test ended in a draw on the final day at the MCG.last_img read more