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Marcus Stoinis’ broken thumb was the only sore point to emerge from Australia’s greatest ODI victory under coach Justin Langer.
Stoinis sat out Australia’s epic four-wicket win over India in Chandigarh, where the tourists hauled in a target of 359 with 13 balls remaining to push the five-match series to a decider.
The allrounder, one of few locks in the 15-man World Cup squad, suffered the untimely injury while fielding in the third ODI.
Australia currently have no plans to send Stoinis home, suggesting the crack is minor, but it’s hard to imagine how he will be passed fit for Wednesday’s series decider in Delhi.
Langer and team medicos will be wary of the minor fracture becoming worse, especially with the World Cup to start in less than three months.
However, Sunday’s man of the match Ashton Turner arrived at the venue expecting not to play – such was Stoinis’ confidence he could pass a fitness test.
“He’s a pretty tough bloke, so I thought he’d get up and play and I’d be running drinks again,” Turner revealed.
Peter Handscomb suggested Stoinis’ return would be a matter of pain management.
“When it’s your bottom-hand thumb, it makes it hard to hold the bat,” Handscomb said.
“We’ve just got to wait and see with him.”
Australia start a five-match ODI series against Pakistan in the UAE on March 22.
Stoinis, who has overtaken Mitch Marsh as Australia’s premier allrounder in all three formats, was heralded as the opposition’s biggest threat by Virat Kohli at the start of the current tour.
The issue of managing Stoinis, one of the few Australians taking part in this year’s Indian Premier League, was already a challenge even before his setback.
Stoinis is set to travel to Dubai on Thursday with Australia’s ODI squad then rush back to India to join Kohli’s IPL team, Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Stoinis will play in the IPL until he is summoned to Brisbane for Australia’s World Cup training camp, then fly directly to England.
If Stoinis is picked in both the World Cup and Ashes squad, as is currently expected, he won’t be home until September.