Australia sweat over Mitchell Starc's fitness ahead of one-off T20I against the UAE

Waseem Ahmed 18:11 21/10/2018
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The Oval Grounds of Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Stadium will play host to UAE’s first-ever T20 international against Australia in a one-off match on Monday.

Arranged at a short notice, the match stands to serve as a warm-up for the Aussies ahead of their three-match T20 series against Pakistan.

As UAE and Australia get ready to lock horns for the first time in international cricket, we look at some of the key talking points.

CHANCE FOR UAE TO TEST THEMSELVES

Rohan Mustafa and his men narrowly missed out on qualification to the Asia Cup after going down to Hong Kong in the final of the Qualifiers held in Malaysia.

That defeat deprived them an opportunity to rub shoulders with Asia’s best in India and Pakistan in front of their home fans.

Now, they have been given a chance to test themselves against the formidable Aussies in their own backyard. For coach Dougie Brown, it will be an opportunity to gauge the true strength of a side ranked 13th in T20I cricket currently.

Matches likes these do not come by very often for UAE and they have a chance to grab headlines and give the Aussies a scare.

A big opportunity for Rohan Mustafa and his men.

A big opportunity for Rohan Mustafa and his men.

AUSSIES SEEK WHITE-BALL REDEMPTION

The Test series against Pakistan did not go as well as Justin Langer would have hoped for in his first red-ball assignment as Australia coach. After pulling off an incredible draw in the Dubai Test, the Aussies were handed a crushing 373-run loss at Abu Dhabi.

While the huge defeat has seen the tourists come under severe fire from all quarters, they have a chance to change the script in the upcoming white-ball clashes against Pakistan. A win against the UAE might not be the redemption Australia require after their Test humbling but it could definitely help them sharpen their tools ahead of the three matches against Pakistan who have been in excellent form in the T20 format.

Langer and his men have a chance to change the atmosphere.

Langer and his men have a chance to change the atmosphere.

STARC INJURY SENDS ALARM BELLS RINGING

As if the heavy defeat in the Tests wasn’t enough, Australia have been dealt another blow with star pacer Mitchell Starc nursing a hamstring injury. The left-armer played through the pain and discomfort in the Abu Dhabi Test but his fitness is not something Australia will want to risk, especially with an ODI series against South Africa and a hotly anticipated Test series against India coming up.

Peter Siddle will remain in the UAE as a back up to Starc and the veteran seamer might very well be needed. Expect Starc to sit out the clash on Monday for sure but it will not be a surprise if the pacer plays no further part in Australia’s tour of the UAE.

Starc played through the discomfort in Abu Dhabi.

Starc played through the discomfort in Abu Dhabi.

WHEN: October 22, Monday

WHERE: Oval1, Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi

TIME: 14:00 GST

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