Australia’s Ashes wildcard Starc hit by injury blow

Sydney: Fast bowler Mitchell Starc, an outside bet for a place in Australia’s Ashes squad, has been ruled out of action for a month with a side strain.

The 20-year-old took four wickets in last Sunday’s one-day victory over Sri Lanka -- his second limited overs international -- to propel himself into the Ashes reckoning.

Starc injured himself bowling for New South Wales against Victoria in the Sheffield Shield in Sydney on Thursday and batted for a duck through the injury on Friday, AAP reported.

The ranks of Australia’s pace contenders have been depleted by injury in recent months with Doug Bollinger and Ryan Harris just returning to action this week.

Mitchell Johnson, who is likely to lead a three-strong pace attack in the first Ashes test in Brisbane, is returning to club cricket this weekend to try and find some form.

Starc had also been selected for the Australia A team to face England in their final Ashes warm-up match in Hobart next week.

Australia’s squad for the opening test, which begins on Nov. 25, will be announced on Monday.

Bureau Report