Australia fast bowler Mitchell Starc is set to miss the second T20I against Sri Lanka, to be played in Brisbane on Wednesday, 30 October, having opted out of the contest to attend his brother Brandon’s wedding.
Starc, who registered bowling figures of 2/18 from his four overs in his team’s emphatic 134-run win in the series opener at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday, 27 October, is likely to be replaced by one of Billy Stanlake and Sean Abbott. While Stanlake was already in the original squad, Abbott was roped in as a replacement for Andrew Tye, after the latter had been ruled out of the series due to an elbow injury last week.
Pat Cummins, Australia’s pace spearhead across formats, hinted that Stanlake could be the first choice at the Gabba, but added that the death-bowling skills of Abbott can’t be overlooked. The 27-year-old bagged 22 wickets from 15 games for Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash League last year – the second most after Kane Richardson’s 24.
“Billy Stanlake’s been in the squad here (in Brisbane), home ground, he might get first crack,” Cummins said. “Or else you go for the more death-bowling option of Sean Abbott.”
“I’m really happy for Seany to get his chance,” Cummins added on Abbott. “I haven’t seen a lot of him over the last 12 months but everything I keep hearing not only from the New South Wales boys but from his Aussie A tour over in England was just how well he’s been bowling; really good rhythm, really good control and you’ve seen in the Big Bash the last few years his variations. So he’s a big inclusion for the squad and hopefully he gets a chance – the good thing is he’s in great form, so he’ll be ready if picked.”
Having already taken a 1-0 lead, the Aaron Finch-led side have the chance to seal the series in the second T20I before they head into the final game in Melbourne on 1 November.