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The quicks and the dead, but Starc is still around

NOT for the first time in his career Mitchell Starc is the last man standing out of Australia's next-generation pace quartet after Josh Hazlewood suffered another injury setback on Wednesday.

Hazlewood's Test summer is over after becoming the latest Australian fast bowler to break down this season, joining fellow gun youngsters Pat Cummins and James Pattinson on the sidelines.

The giant NSW quick has been diagnosed with a foot injury that will keep him out of action for up to six weeks, ruling out any chance of him making his Test debut in the series against Sri Lanka.

Hazlewood has reported soreness in his left foot in the same region where he suffered a stress fracture last January, and Cricket Australia, rather than run the risk of the 21-year-old doing further damage, have opted for a cautious approach.

''Because of his age and history with this type of injury, he will have a short break from bowling for a few weeks and be back playing in approximately four to six weeks,'' Cricket Australia's chief medical officer Justin Paoloni said.

The injury, Hazlewood's third in as many summers, has come at an inopportune moment given how close he came to breaking into Australia's Test XI in Perth.


The highly-promising quick missed the second half of last summer with a stress fracture in his foot and did not play at all in 2010-11 due to a serious back injury.

John Hastings, who pipped Hazlewood for a baggy green last week, is also under an injury cloud. He is suffering from a back complaint that has resulted in him being ruled out by CA from playing for the Melbourne Stars in their opening match of the Big Bash on Friday night.

His availability for the first Test is dependent on how he responds to treatment between now and then.

Starc, however, remains in one piece and continues to be the poster boy for the Australian side's management of their fast bowlers.

The left-armer played through the winter with Yorkshire then starred for country and franchise during the Twenty20 swing in September and October before surviving the transition to the longer forms of the game last month.

He will play for the Sydney Sixers in their derby against the Thunder on Saturday night before preparing to take on Sri Lanka.

The 22-year-old, whose summer two seasons ago was plagued by side strains, believes his stint with the English county side had helped condition his developing body to the rigours of fast bowling.

''I think I've learnt to get through things more than I have done in years past,'' said Starc, who was part of an attack that was mauled by South Africa in the deciding Test but bounced back late to take a career-best six wickets in the second innings.

''You learn how you could be sore in one spot for half a day but you get through it and you're sore in another spot for half a day and get past that.

''I'd be laughing at any fast bowler in the world who said they were 100 per cent at any stage. You've always got a little niggle as a fast bowler but you learn how to get through things.

''I'm pretty confident in my body at the moment and being on the park for 18 months straight has been good for me to get through some tough stages.''

Starc's ability to withstand playing consistently will be seen by some as evidence Australia's current quicks are not being given enough tough love.

''There's too much cotton wool going around these days,'' said former Test speedster Brett Lee.

''These days when they get their chance to play at the next level their body's not quite ready for it.

''There's a happy medium - there's over-bowling and under-bowling, but I think sometimes injuries happen with the guys being under-bowled as opposed to being over-bowled. I've always put my hand up and think the whole resting thing is not great.''