Australia Faces Injury Concerns Ahead of Fifth Ashes Test at The Oval; Michael Neser Awaits Potential Call-Up

Jul 25, 2023

Australia Faces Injury Concerns Ahead of Fifth Ashes Test at The Oval; Michael Neser Awaits Potential Call-Up Image

In a bid for their first Ashes victory on English soil in 22 years, Australia's cricket team is grappling with injury concerns for key players, Mitch Marsh and Mitch Starc, ahead of the highly-anticipated fifth and final Test at The Oval. Adding to the intrigue, bowling all-rounder Michael Neser is waiting in the wings, anticipating a potential call-up.

During the drawn test at Old Trafford, Mitch Marsh appeared to be in discomfort, sitting out the third day entirely without bowling a single over. Australia's head coach, Andrew McDonald, acknowledged the issue, stating, "He's a little bit sore, hence why he was off the field. I'm not going to hide that. As to what extent, that will be assessed over the next couple of days."

Fast bowler Mitch Starc is also causing concern, having endured two separate incidents that affected his shoulder. McDonald remained optimistic about Starc's availability for the fifth Test, saying, "He's looking worse for wear and a little bit sore. All indications are that he'll be right to go but that'll be assessed."

Amidst the uncertainty surrounding Marsh and Starc, all eyes are on Michael Neser, who hasn't represented Australia since December against the West Indies. Speculation points to his possible selection for the crucial match, but coach McDonald was tight-lipped about the final decision, revealing, "Everyone's on the table, every selection. And Michael (Neser) knows that ... he was a serious consideration here and he was under consideration at Leeds also, so you're always sort of balancing those who are up and running in the series versus freshness."

Despite the potential inclusion of Neser, Australian cricketing legend Ian Chappell expressed concerns about the selectors repeating the same mistakes made during the Old Trafford Test. Chappell believes there was an element of negativity in the team's thought process during that selection.

With the fifth and final Test set to commence on Thursday at The Oval, Australia aims to secure its first Ashes series win on English soil since 2001. The team's performance will be closely monitored, especially with the lingering injury concerns for two key players, making Neser's potential call-up all the more critical in their pursuit of Ashes glory.