Key man: Allrounder James Faulkner starred in the ODI series against England and was considered a chance of breaking into the Test side against South Africa. Photo: Getty Images
Australian all-rounder James Faulkner has been ruled out of the Test tour of South Africa with a knee injury.
Cricket Australia says Faulkner requires surgery on his right knee and will be replaced in Australia’s 15-man Test squad by Moises Henriques.
Shaun Marsh is also in doubt for the tour with a calf strain and won’t fly with the team on Wednesday.
The West Australian batsman will remain in Perth for further treatment before a final decision is made on his fitness.
Commenting on Faulkner’s injury, Cricket Australia physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said: “James injured his knee during the Australia Day one-day international in Adelaide. He has had subsequent scans and was reviewed by Cricket Australia’s medical team and a knee specialist, and will require arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday.
“James’ exact rehab plan and return to training and playing will be determined after surgery but unfortunately for him, he will not be available for the upcoming Test tour of South Africa. We are hopeful that he will recover in time to play the Twenty 20 games on that tour and take part in the ICC World Twenty20.”
National selector John Inverarity said Henriques had shown some good form recently with both bat and ball.
“He [Henriques] provides a good fit when looking to replace James. [We are] hopeful that James will be fit for the three Twenty 20s in South Africa and for the ICC World Twenty20 following as that is a key tournament for him.”
Back-up fast bowler Jackson Bird, who is nursing a jarred back, is no certainty to tour either. Bird, who missed the first half of his season with a stress fracture of the back suffered in England last year, was pulled out of a Futures League game in Brisbane this week.
He was supposed to feature for Western Australia’s second XI against Queensland seconds because Tasmania have no fixture in this round, and was replaced by James Pattinson, as his state side Victoria are also without a match this week.
Pattinson has not played a first-class match since the second Test against England at Lord’s last July, and used the hit-out with the red ball to good effect, taking 2-33 in 18 overs, including the wicket of opener Luke Pomersbach for nought. The Queensland team includes Pattinson’s Victoria and Australia teammate Peter Siddle and Ryan Harris, who took a wicket with his first ball late on Monday.
Fellow Test squad members Nathan Lyon and Chris Rogers are playing in the second-XI match between NSW and South Australia at Blacktown. Rogers, making a cameo for the Redbacks, was five not out overnight after Trent Copeland scored 107 for the Blues.
Tasmanian Faulkner was 12th man this summer as Australia went unchanged in a 5-0 demolition of England in the Ashes. His lone Test remains his appearance in the fifth leg of the series against England at The Oval in August, but his brilliant one-day form has offered a reminder of how destructive he can be.
■ Graeme Swann has defended England skipper Alastair Cook’s Ashes performance, saying the captaincy is an impossible task. Swann, who retired after three Tests of the 5-0 whitewash, was just one of several players who failed to fire. Cook shouldered much of the blame, and his captaincy was criticised by many, including Shane Warne. However, Swann says he was hamstrung by those around him. “He had to change things and try to be a bit funky as the series went on because we were terrible,” Swann told BBC Radio.