Gun fast bowler Mitchell Starc has withdrawn from the NSW squad ahead of their Sheffield Shield clash with Victoria tomorrow after his father Paul lost his battle with cancer yesterday.
Starc has been given compassionate leave as he and his family deal with the loss, and Cricket NSW will not set a date for his return.
Also missing from the NSW squad for tomorrow’s Bankstown Oval clash are Steve Smith, who has withdrawn due to elbow soreness, and Josh Hazlewood, who has been rested.
Smith has been dealing with an elbow complaint since Australia’s Test series against India, which finished on January 19.
“I have had some pain in my elbow that’s gradually worsened since the Test against India at the SCG and it requires some rest and rehab,” Smith said in a statement released by Cricket NSW.
“I am hoping I will be right to travel with the Blues to Adelaide for our games down their next week but we will have to see how it responds to treatment.”
While the absence of the Test trio will be a blow to the Blues’ hopes of overturning last week’s disappointing loss to Victoria, they will be buoyed by the return of Pat Cummins, who will play his first Shield game in 16 months.
NSW also added rising stars Liam Hatcher and Jason Sangha to the 13-man squad.
NSW Blues squad v Victoria, Bankstown Oval, 25-28 February
Peter NEVILL (Captain)