The Perth Scorchers have been dealt a double blow leading up to the new Big Bash League season, with Mitch Marsh and Phil Salt ruled out for the season through injury.
Marsh underwent keyhole surgery on his left ankle on Thursday to mend a persistent injury and is set to be unavailable for three months.
It is a frustrating setback for the experienced all-rounder and 2021 T20 World Cup winner, who only returned to the field in mid-October after recovering from an ankle injury.
The 31-year-old will also be racing the clock to be fit in time for Australia’s Test tour of India, which begins in early February.
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Salt, on the other hand, has sustained a grade two ligament injury on his left shoulder, which arose after he dived for a ball during the third one-dayer between Australia and England in November.
The English import does not require surgery, but advice from a shoulder specialist means his recovery time rules him out of BBL|12.
A member of England’s 2022 T20 World Cup winning team, Salt was selected by Perth with their silver-round selection in the inaugural BBL Draft.
Kade Harvey, the Scorchers’ general manager of high performance, underlined how big of a blow the two injuries are.
“Losing Mitch and Phil so close to the start of the season is very disappointing,” Harvey said, via the club’s official site.
“Mitch is one of the best ball-strikers in global cricket with an incredible MBBL record, and his leadership and presence around the group is enormous.
“Phil has proven his class for England and in T20 tournaments around the world, so it’s unfortunate he won’t pull on the orange this summer.
“We’re under no illusions about how difficult it will be to cover the absence of Mitch and Phil, but we take pride in the depth of our squad and have a lot of players capable of stepping up.
“The whole organisation remains as motivated as ever to win a fifth MBBL championship.”
Summer = SORTED ???
3️⃣0️⃣ days to go! #BBL12 pic.twitter.com/mms5rnhBpS
— KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) November 13, 2022
However, it’s not all bad news in Perth in the lead-up to the new season, with South African great Faf du Plessis signing a short-term deal with the club as an overseas replacement player.
The 38-year-old will be available for the first seven matches of BBL|12, and will replace English import Laurie Evans, who had his contract terminated after a positive anti-doping test.
The new BBL season will begin on December 13.