Kane Richardson’s hopes of taking part in the World Twenty20 are hanging in the balance, with the paceman sent home from New Zealand for further assessment of a back injury.
Richardson was a late withdrawal from Saturday’s one-day international in Wellington, where Australia squared their three-match series against New Zealand with a four-wicket win.
“He pulled up with a bit of a sore back,” captain Steve Smith said of Richardson.
Richardson was sent for scans but he and sports science guru Alex Kountouris are yet to see a specialist due to New Zealand’s Waitangi Day long weekend.
The 24-year-old will miss Monday’s series finale and could be racing the clock to be fit for the side’s T20 World Cup campaign, which starts on March 18 in India.
“Kane Richardson’s back pain hasn’t subsided sufficiently to take part in the final ODI in Hamilton,” a Cricket Australia spokesperson said.
“He will return home today for further investigation into the issue.”
Western Australia’s Joel Paris, who recently finished playing a Sheffield Shield game in the New Zealand town of Lincoln, will join the squad as cover.
Paris, 23, made his international debut in the first ODI against India in January.
Richardson’s injury adds to Australia’s woes
Richardson was diagnosed with a back ‘hot spot’ while playing for Australia A in 2013.
In 2014, he was also sidelined during an ODI tri-series in Zimbabwe.
“I’ve always had things like this as a kid and it’s one of those things if the physio gives you the all clear you go for it,” Richardson said at the time.
Australia’s World T20 plans have been severely disrupted by injury.
National T20 captain Aaron Finch and gun all-rounder James Faulkner are currently on the sidelinesbecause of hamstring injuries
But it is Australia’s pace attack that has been decimated following the retirement of Mitchell Johnson.
Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, both part of Australia’s triumphant ODI World Cup squad last year, will miss the T20 World Cup.
Nathan Coulter-Nile is also sidelined through injury, while James Pattinson is back on the park but shin soreness kept him out of the Big Bash League.