Australia opener Travis Head could be ruled out of the World Cup after picking up an injury to his hand.
After seemingly nailing down the position that had slipped away from him in the previous event four years ago, Travis Head is now facing a tight race against the clock to recover from a fractured hand.
The injury occurred during Australia's crushing 164-run loss to South Africa in the fourth ODI, putting his World Cup participation in jeopardy.
Travis Head, who had been in stellar form throughout this series, now faces a spell on the sidelines as he commences his path to recovery, with the countdown to the significant event underway.
Travis Head doubtful for the 2023 World Cup due to hand fracture.— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) September 16, 2023
Smith, Cummins, Starc, Maxwell, Green and now Head – the list keeps getting bigger for Australia! pic.twitter.com/pMhhiQqNB9
The opener got injured during the seventh over of the Australian innings when Gerald Coetzee's aggressive short delivery made harsh contact with Head's left hand.
After receiving medical care, he persisted with his innings but managed to face only three more deliveries before leaving the field in agonizing pain, with his score at 11. This has left Australia's World Cup preparations in a precarious state.
Afterward, he underwent X-rays at a nearby hospital, and it was established that he had a fracture, as stated by Australian coach Andrew McDonald. McDonald also indicated that a detailed evaluation would be carried out to gauge the complexity of his situation.
“At this stage, it's a confirmed fracture, and how long that timeframe is, we're yet to determine that, so fingers crossed clearly with the World Cup fast approaching,” McDonald said.
“I'm not a medical person, but I think it's a little bit higher up than the actual [index] finger itself. But I don't know the actual terminology. It's in a joint somewhere, so I won't go into the medical specifics. But, yeah, a confirmed fracture and to be assessed again tomorrow with another scan.”
Travis Head adds to Australia’s growing list of injuries
Coach McDonald is facing a major headache as seven of his players, including Pat Cummins (wrist fracture), Steven Smith (wrist tendon), Mitchell Starc (groin), Glenn Maxwell (leg), Ashton Agar (soreness), Cameron Green (concussion), and Spencer Johnson (hamstring), have been grappling with various issues.
Now, Travis Head adds to his list of worries as the World Cup is only weeks away.
Should Head be unavailable at the beginning of the World Cup, it seems probable that Mitch Marsh will reclaim his position at the top of the order.
Additionally, the anticipated return of Cameron Green from concussion for the fifth ODI on Sunday offers an alternative option.
If Head ends up being sidelined for the entirety of the World Cup campaign, it could present Australian selectors with the opportunity to bring in the in-form Marnus Labuschagne, who was initially left out of the provisional 15-player touring contingent.