Australia captain Steve Smith reckons Mitchell Starc will be fit to face South Africa in November despite a freak accident in training last week that left the pace bowler with a “gruesome” injury.
Left-armer Starc required 30 stitches to close a gash in his left leg caused by a stump that had been dug into the ground, and will be in a leg brace for another two weeks.
Australia are expected to touchdown in South Africa today, where they will play a lone one-dayer against Ireland followed by five ODIs against the hosts.
And skipper Smith says: “It wasn’t nice at all. It was actually probably one of the most gruesome things I have ever seen.
“I guess for Mitch, he’s got no tendon or ligament damage so given everything goes well over the next couple of weeks, we’re confident that he’ll be okay for the first Test match.”
Starc, who was being rested from the trip to South Africa along with fellow quick Josh Hazlewood, has established himself as the leader of Australia’s pace over the last couple of years.
The 26-year-old’s absence for the first of three Tests against the Proteas in Perth from November 3 would be a major setback for the hosts, who also face the Proteas in Hobart and a day-night match in Adelaide.
Smith explains the incident as follows: “ As he was catching it [the ball] a few of us were saying ‘don’t go for it’ but he took the catch and then what happened after that wasn’t great.”