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Injured Marsh has Test future: Howard

AAP logoAAP 18/12/2016 Laine Clark

A broken finger may yet ensure injury plagued veteran Shaun Marsh does not play another Test this summer.

But Cricket Australia high performance manager Pat Howard has still given the 33-year-old's Test future the thumbs up.

Howard confirmed on Sunday that Marsh was "highly unlikely" for the Boxing Day Test in what should provide a reprieve for under fire No.6 Australian batsman Nic Maddinson.

But it would also put Marsh behind the eight ball for the remaining home Test - the New Year's clash against Pakistan in Sydney.

Selectors are expected to name a joint squad for both Melbourne and Sydney Tests in the coming days.

But Howard believed Marsh still had a Test future despite the selectors' current youth policy.

"The great thing about Shaun is that any time we drop him into the team he gets a hundred," Howard told ABC Radio.

"He's had a history of coming in and making a difference."

Marsh has been sidelined since breaking his finger in early November's first Test against the Proteas in Perth, requiring surgery.

He had hoped to prove his fitness for the second Test against Pakistan in Melbourne by playing Perth's Big Bash League clash on Friday.

But Howard said the game plan was to ease Marsh through the BBL after Christmas, in what would sabotage his Boxing Day Test chances.

Asked if Marsh would play the second Test, Howard said: "He's highly unlikely.

"X-rays will be checked in the next couple of days but we are looking at the Scorchers' (BBL) game after Christmas."

The 19-Test veteran had been expected to replace one of the new faces produced by the selectors' youth policy - an out of sorts Maddinson - in Melbourne.

Maddinson has compiled just five runs at 1.66 in two Tests.

The NSW left-hander made a 12-ball duck on debut in last month's Adelaide Test win over South Africa.

While Howard clearly had plenty of affection for Marsh, he only had tough love for Maddinson.

Howard baulked when asked if Maddinson should be cut some slack considering his only two Tests have been played with a sometimes challenging pink ball.

"On a personal note I would like everyone to do well," Howard said.

"But the other thing is there is never the perfect opportunity - I am sure (dumped one Test batsman) Callum Ferguson would like another.

"You've got to take what is on offer."

Test teammate Usman Khawaja threw his support behind Maddinson after he made just one and four in this week's day-night first Test against Pakistan in Brisbane.

"I've known Maddo for a long time. He's obviously a really good batsman and there's no doubt in my mind that he's going to play a lot of Test cricket and do well," he said.

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