Mohali: Dashing batsman Glenn Maxwell is the latest Australian cricketer to end his IPL campaign prematurely as a side strain has ruled him out of Kings XI Punjab's remaining two matches in the cash-rich league.
Glenn Maxwell. Pic/Atul Kamble
With franchise already out of contention, Maxwell has returned home in order to get some rest and also get fit in time for their tri-series against West Indies and South Africa in the Caribbean islands.
Maxwell thus joins his captain Steve Smith, Marsh brothers Shaun and Mitch, pacer John Hastings to the list of cricketers, who have been IPL casualties during this edition. According to a media release issued, Cricket Australia's Bupa Support Team Physiotherapist David Beakley said: "Glenn reported increasing soreness in his left abdomen area following last night's match and as such a decision was made for him to return home for further assessment and treatment ahead of the West Indies tour.
"From the information we have so far, the injury doesn't appear to be something that will prevent Glenn from participating in this tour but we are keen to give him the necessary time to recover before departing to the West Indies at the end of this month." Maxwell had scored two half-centuries this season, with a highest score of 68, but averaged less than 20 in his 11 matches. He scored 179 runs at 19.88 but had a strike rate of 144.35.
Kings XI have won only four of their 12 matches and are out of play-off contention. Smith and Mitch Marsh who were teammates at the Rising Pune Supergiants are expected to be fully fit to play in the ODI tri-series against the West Indies and South Africa, which begins on June 3.
Smith had been managing an ongoing wrist injury and had been doing it quite well given his final three scores in the competition were 46 not out, 101 and 45. Marsh's setback was a side strain but scans confirmed it was a minor issue.
The touring party flies out on May 27, leaving Smith and Marsh with limited time to recover from their respective concerns. The obvious temptation would be to rest both players from a series that isn't as important as the ensuing Test tour of Sri Lanka. But coach Darren Lehmann reiterated earlier this year that players wouldn't be ordered to miss games haphazardly.
"We'll pick the side to win every series as we normally do," Lehmann was quoted as saying by Cricket Australia website. It also mentioned that "Lehmann will temporarily hand the reins over to Justin Langer for the trip, with Cricket Australia (CA) wanting to give the mentor a break from a relentless schedule. Those members of the ODI squad not taking part in the IPL will head to Brisbane later this month to shake off the rust at CA's training centre."
John Hastings (ankle) and Shaun Marsh (back) both suffered injuries during the IPL and won't be part of the upcoming tri-series. Hastings' injury required surgery and he was replaced in the touring party by Victoria teammate Scott Boland, while Marsh wasn't part of the original squad because of the impending birth of his first child.
It is presently unknown if Hastings will be fit enough to be considered for selection for the Sri Lanka tour that follows the Caribbean tri-series. The Australians have been joined on the injured list by fellow internationals Kevin Pietersen and Faf du Plessis.
The South Africans made it four internationals from Pune who had fallen victim to injury. The injury opened the door for Australians Usman Khawaja and George Bailey to make late appearances in the IPL.
Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), George Bailey, Scott Boland, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.