South Africa tour: Faulkner out, Henriques in

In-form allrounder James Faulkner has been ruled out of Australia’s tour of South Africa and will undergo knee surgery.

The news could get even worse for the Ashes champions, with batsman Shaun Marsh and paceman Jackson Bird to stay behind for injury treatment when the rest of the squad flies out to South Africa on Wednesday.

Faulkner was replaced in the 15-man tour squad on Tuesday by NSW allrounder Moises Henriques, who returns to the Test fold for the first time since his debut tour of India last year. 

Marsh is battling a calf strain while Bird is recovering from a jarred back, and the pair will stay in Perth and Hobart respectively for further treatment, hoping to prove their fitness before a decision is taken on whether they join the tour.

After Australia re-wrote the history books by fielding an unchanged XI throughout the five-match Ashes series, injuries have finally caught up with them.

It’s a major disruption on the eve of a crucial three-Test series against the No.1 Test side in the world.

Faulkner had collected two man-of-the-match awards in the one-day international series against England, including on Sunday, where he bowled out his allotted overs before pulling up sore after the match.

The 23-year-old was to undergo arthroscopic surgery in Melbourne on Tuesday and it’s hoped he will be fit to join the South Africa tour for the closing T20 series before continuing to March’s World Twenty20 tournament in Bangladesh.

National Selector John Inverarity said Henriques deserved another chance in the Test squad.

“Moises Henriques has shown some good form recently with both bat and ball and he provides a good fit when looking to replace James,” he said.

South Australian Kane Richardson has been drafted in to take Faulkner’s place in Australia’s squad for the T20 Internationals against England, beginning in Hobart on Wednesday night.

Australia Test squad for South Africa: Michael Clarke(c), Brad Haddin (vc), Jackson Bird, Alex Doolan, Moises Henriques, Ryan Harris, Mitchell Johnson, Shaun Marsh, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson, Chris Rogers, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, David Warner, Shane Watson.

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