Australia news – Marcus Stoinis ruled out of New Zealand tour Aaron Hardie called up

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Marcus Stoinis has been ruled out of Australia’s three-match T20I series in New Zealand due to a back issue with fellow West Australian allrounder Aaron Hardie called in for Australia’s last series before the T20 World Cup in June.

Australia vice-captain and wicketkeeper Matthew Wade is also set to miss game one of the series on Wednesday in Wellington due to the impending birth of his third child but is expected to be available for the final two games in Auckland on Friday and Sunday.

Stoinis tweaked his back in the warm-up of the second T20I against West Indies in Adelaide last Sunday but was still able to play. He made 16 off 15 with the bat but played a role in feeding the strike to Glenn Maxwell in an 80-run stand before picking up 3 for 36 to continue his excellent bowling form.

But after the long flight to Perth, he missed Tuesday’s third match against West Indies and has subsequently been ruled out of the T20I series against New Zealand having not fully resolved the back complaint. Stoinis is expected to be fit for the IPL which begins in late March.

Hardie is currently playing for Western Australia in a Sheffield Shield match against Tasmania in Hobart and did not travel with the squad on Saturday but will join the squad before the opening match.

Stoinis remains a key figure in Australia’s T20I set-up despite losing his place in the ODI side for the World Cup semi and final last year. He was one of Australia’s most important players in the T20 World Cup triumph in 2021, playing match-winning hands against South Africa and then Pakistan in the semi-final. He also made a stunning half-century against Sri Lanka in the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia. His bowling has been important for Australia as well, having become a key wicket-taker over the past year in both the powerplay and middle overs.

But his injury issues remain a concern for both he and Australia’s hierarchy. Australia have been reluctant to bowl him in back-to-back games due to his history and he missed games in the lead-up to and during the ODI World Cup because of several different soft tissue injuries.

Australia’s other allrounders also have their bespoke injury concerns with captain Mitchell Marsh’s ankle requiring ongoing management as does Maxwell’s previously broken leg.

Spin bowling allrounder Matthew Short also has an injury cloud heading to New Zealand after suffering a low-grade hamstring injury in the ODI series against West Indies which forced him to miss the T20Is.

Hardie gets his chance to put forth a case for the T20 World Cup as a back-up allrounder who can bat in the middle-order if Stoinis has more injury trouble at the tournament proper. Cameron Green was not considered to be called into the New Zealand series with Australia’s selectors preferring him to remain red-ball focussed ahead of the New Zealand Test tour. Green will then play a full IPL with Royal Challengers Bangalore to push his case for the World Cup squad.

Fast bowler Nathan Ellis returns from a rib injury and looms as Australia’s preferred back-up quick behind Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, who will all play in the New Zealand series.

Sean Abbott and Jason Behrendorff are on standby for the New Zealand series although Abbott is still managing a shoulder issue that ruled him out of the final two T20Is against West Indies.

Steven Smith and Travis Head both return to the T20 side for the New Zealand tour after resting from the West Indies series and look likely to be given several opportunities each in the top three as Australia tries to bed down their best side for the World Cup.

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