Australia’s World Cup preparations have suffered a new blow, with paceman Mitch Starc expected to be sidelined from this month’s Indian tour.
Starc is understood to have an upper-body injury and will be a glaring absentee when the squad for India is named on Thursday.
Fellow paceman Josh Hazlewood is already out of action with a back injury, suffered during the home Test series loss to India.
Australia will play two T20s and five one dayers against India, an important build-up to their World Cup title defence.
After India, Australia will head to the UAE in late March for five one dayers against Pakistan.
Starc returned to form with a vengeance in the second Test against Sri Lanka, taking 10 wickets in a man of the match performance.
The Indian and UAE trips will be the last chance for players to impress in one dayers before the World Cup squad is named.
Apart from the new uncertainty surrounding Starc and Hazlewood’s absence, a final call on suspended superstar David Warner’s hopes of returning next month is also yet to be made.
National selectors are expected to pick a 15-man ODI squad on Thursday.
It’s likely to only cover the Indian trip, allowing selectors and CA further time to weigh up the merits of Warner returning in the UAE when his 12-month ban expires on March 29.
Warner, like Steve Smith, is currently recovering from elbow surgery but the sacked vice-captain’s setback was relatively minor.
Warner will most likely shape up for the World Cup by taking part in the Indian Premier League but CA may yet opt to rush the hard-hitting opener back into the one-day squad next month.
Langer recently indicated his team would be “crazy not to” call on the services of Warner and Smith in their World Cup defence, which starts on June 1 in England.
Australia must submit their World Cup squad by April 23 but are free to make changes without needing special approval until May 23.