Withdrawals no bother for Windies
Mitchell Starc may miss Wednesday's match in Canberra. Photo: Will Russell
WEST INDIES coach Ottis Gibson says he wouldn't be bothered one bit if some of Australia's best players were forced to pull out of the one-day series early to prepare for their four-Test tour of India. Canberra cricket fans might not agree.
With the five-match series against the West Indies almost overlapping a February 12-13 tour match in Chennai, Cricket Australia is looking to fly some of the one-day squad over to India early.
Skipper Michael Clarke, Xavier Doherty, Phillip Hughes, Mitchell Johnson, Usman Khawaja, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc and Matthew Wade are among those who might not see out the one-day series.
It has been reported that an advance squad of Australian players may leave for India on Thursday, the day after the historic one-day international at Canberra's Manuka Oval on Wednesday evening.
Cricket Australia has refused to give any guarantees about which players will be available for the Canberra match, with a squad expected to be announced on Monday.
Gibson scoffed at suggestions the West Indies would view any withdrawals of Australian players as disrespectful, claiming he understood the juggling act.
''It doesn't bother us one bit who they send,'' Gibson said.
''The international calendar is so packed at the moment, that teams like Australia are well within their rights to believe they can rest players and protect players from different formats.
''We're here to play a one-day series and, whichever Australian XI comes out, we try to win every game.
''If they send all the best players away and then they put their under-19s team in, and we're against the under-19s, then West Indies versus Australia is still West Indies versus Australia.
''We can't focus on who might play.
''We focus on us, keeping our spirits high and making sure when we step out on to the park, we play with pride and passion and try to win.''
The Windies were thumped by nine wickets in Friday's series opener at the WACA Ground.
Meanwhile, in-form paceman Starc continues to battle bone spurs in his right ankle and will need to undergo surgery at some point in the future.
The 23-year-old is hopeful he can make it through the coming Test tour of India and back-to-back Ashes series before he has to go under the knife.
And after snaring 5-20 in Australia's crushing nine-wicket one-day victory over the West Indies on Friday, it's easy to see why Starc doesn't want a lay-off just yet.
''Three seasons ago I had two spurs in the same ankle and I played two-thirds of the season,'' Starc said.
''So it's not an issue we're all worried about at the moment, so I'll keep going.
''I probably will (have surgery) at some point, but no time in the very near future. If it gets worse, we might have to reassess it.
''But it's not affecting my bowling at the moment, so it's not something I want to go under the knife for.''
When Starc finally does opt to have the surgery, he expects he will miss about three months of cricket.
The West Indies would probably love Starc to have the procedure done now after the left-arm tearaway tore the heart out of their top-order.
Starc claimed the scalps of Kieran Powell (11), Ramnaresh Sarwan (0), Dwayne Bravo (0), Kieron Pollard (0) and Jason Holder (7) to help skittle the West Indies for 70 - a record low ODI score at the WACA Ground.
In reply, Australia reached 1-71 off just 9.2 overs, with Glenn Maxwell cracking an unbeaten 51 off 35 balls.
Starc remains a chance to leave the five-match series early in order to link up with some of Australia's Test squad for warm-up games in India, with the first tour match starting on February 12. AAP