Mitchell Starc needed cortisone injections to get through Ashes tour

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Australia fast bowler has ‘chronic right-ankle condition’
Surgery for Starc would mean lay-off of up to five months

Mitchell Starc
Mitchell Starc, right, shows his concern after felling Eoin Morgan with a bouncer in the final ODI. Photograph: Philip Brown/Reuters
Mitchell Starc, right, shows his concern after felling Eoin Morgan with a bouncer in the final ODI. Photograph: Philip Brown/Reuters
Press Association

Last modified on Fri 15 Feb 2019 11.14 EST

Australia have revealed that their fast bowler Mitchell Starc has been struggling with a right-ankle condition for which he needed cortisone injections during the tour of England.

The 25-year-old from New South Wales, who was a near ever-present during the Ashes Tests and one-day series, missed the fourth ODI at Headingley, which England won by three wickets.

It has now been confirmed that bone spurs caused fresh inflammation to Starc’s ankle, though Cricket Australia said surgical intervention was not called for.

A statement read: “Mitchell has a chronic right ankle condition that has required arthroscopic surgery twice during his career. It is an injury that the Cricket Australia medical team, coaches and Mitchell have become accustomed to managing for some time.

“During the recent Ashes Test and ODI series in the UK there have been times when Mitchell has struggled and required cortisone injections to treat the inflammation within the joint.

“As part of his management, we have had regular MRI scans that have confirmed the presence of some bone spurs that cause the inflamed joint.

“Pleasingly, the most recent scan did not show any significant deterioration despite the heavy playing schedule in the past 12 months, and he has generally coped OK. We have also had specialist surgical opinion, and advice so far is that surgery is not required at the moment.

“It is also pleasing that until he missed the fourth ODI against England recently, Mitchell has been able to play every T20, ODI and Test for Australia in 2015 [25 games in total] and has not missed a game due to injury in the past 18 months.”

After winning the ODI series 3-2, Australia’s attention has turned to a two-Test series with Bangladesh, with the first of them taking place in Chittagong on 9 October.

Starc, who forced the England one-day captain Eoin Morgan to retire hurt after being hit on the helmet in the final ODI, has not been ruled out yet, with Cricket Australia adding: “Our plan is to continue to manage Mitchell and monitor how his ankle responds.

“While surgery has been discussed, like most other situations, it is a last resort, particularly as it will involve a lengthy lay-off from playing [three-five months].

“Mitchell has had similar surgery in the past and understands the amount of time and effort that is required to return to playing at his best. We will be guided by the surgeon on the need for surgery but are hopeful that will not be necessary in the short term.”