Cricket-Australia's Green still in the frame for India opener

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - Ashes - Second Test - Australia v England - Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, Australia - December 20, 2021 Australia's Cameron Green in action REUTERS/Morgan Sette

SYDNEY (Reuters) - All-rounder Cameron Green has not been ruled out of facing India in the first of four tests next month despite his finger injury, Australia coach Andrew McDonald said on Monday.

Green broke his finger in the home South Africa series at the end of last year and has not played a match since, raising questions over whether he would be fit for the start of the first test in Nagpur on Feb. 9.

"He hasn't been ruled out," McDonald told ABC ahead of the team's departure on Tuesday.

"We just want to make sure we set up all our players up for success and there isn't much time left from now to the four-week check-in around his finger to the start of that test match.

"We'll see how he goes in the build-up and make that decision when we get on the ground in India."

While Green has provided a welcome fast-bowling option for Australia, McDonald has made it clear that he is valued foremost for his middle-order batting and could be selected on that basis alone.

McDonald said left-arm quick Mitchell Starc was still in a splint because of his damaged finger and will definitely miss the first test, as expected.

"Nothing's changed in terms of where he's at – he'll be available for the second test match, assuming that all things go well," he said.

"But we can't accelerate that with the nature of the injury."

Australia are looking to win a test series in India for the first time since 2004 and four spinners and six pacemen were named in the squad for the tour.

"We feel like when we get on that plane we'll have great options for the captain and the selectors to work through and put on the park," McDonald said.

After the opener in Nagpur, Australia also play tests in New Delhi, Dharamsala and Ahmedabad with a one-day international series to follow.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford)

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