Jhye Richardson will return to Australian colours at the MCG on Friday night with the “big three” fast bowlers to miss the final two games of the T20 series against Sri Lanka to rest up ahead of the upcoming tour of Pakistan.
Ashes man of the series Travis Head is also in line to replace the concussed Steve Smith as the home team goes for a clean-sweep in the five match series which will conclude on Sunday in Melbourne.
After Mitchell Starc was rested for the second match with Sri Lanka, fellow quick Josh Hazlewood indicated he, Starc and Pat Cummins would continue having chances to put their feet up as the series progressed.
With a series victory secured, Australian captain Aaron Finch confirmed the trio had headed home to rest up before the multi-format tour of Pakistan, which begins in March.
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“Obviously between Starc and Cummins, they’ve had a huge workload on the back of the World Cup and then a five Test Ashes series,” Finch explained.
“And then Josh coming back off a bit of an injury and all of them going to Pakistan shortly, we felt as though it was really important for them to be able to stay at home and get out of a bubble for a day or two just to be able to connect with family and friends.
“So that was a no-brainer.”
Richardson, who has yet to play this series, will come into the XI for the fourth match, having only played two Big Bash matches since his stunning return to Test cricket against England in Adelaide in December.
As of Thursday afternoon, Australia had not yet settled on its bowling order.
But fresh from his Player Of The Match performance in the third T20I, Kane Richardson appears a strong chance to line up.
World-class spinner Adam Zampa, rested for that match, will also make his return.
“Jhye Richardson will no doubt come in tomorrow for one of those quicks,” said Finch.
“Adam Zampa will come back into the side, whether we play two quicks and two spinners with a few all-rounders, we’ll wait and see.”
Finch also hinted Head was a good chance to come into the XI in place of Smith, who suffered a series-ending concussion in the second match on Sunday.
Head opted to miss the first three matches of the series to get in some red-ball practice at Sheffield Shield level before the tour of Pakistan but will reunite with his teammates in Melbourne.
The decision to rest the “big three” quicks comes after Hazlewood said late last month that the tour of Pakistan would present Australia with a chance to prove it can pose a threat on foreign wickets.
Australia moved to the top of the ICC Test rankings after demolishing England in the Ashes this summer but hasn’t claimed an overseas Test series since the summer of 2015/16, when it won both hit-outs against New Zealand.
The last time Australia won a Test series in the Middle East or on the Subcontinent, six of the XI that lined up in the first match of this summer’s Ashes had not yet made their Test debuts.