WEST Australian quick Nathan Coulter-Nile's Ashes hopes have been shattered by recurrence of a stress fracture which has troubled the talented but luckless star.
Coulter-Nile is one of the most exciting fast bowlers in the country but has endured a cruel run with injuries, the latest which will put paid to his hopes of making a Test debut this summer.
Cricket Australia confirmed the news on Friday, ensuring that Tasmanian Jackson Bird will be in the frame to step into the Test team should one of first-choice trio Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood or Pat Cummins succumb to injury over the five-Test series.
Bird is the first-choice 12th man ahead of the Gabba Test, starting November 23, but across a gruelling five-Test series it is expected that fast-bowling depth will be essential.
The news brings South Australian sensation Chadd Sayers, who topped the Sheffield Shield wicket charts last summer, firmly into the frame for a Test debut.
Coulter-Nile played his first Shield match in more than two years a fortnight ago, taking combined figures of 4/41 as he helped dismantle Tasmania, and backed up for a West Australian XI in a two-day tour match against England - where he took 1/43 from 16 overs.
But the 30-year-old experienced a flare-up following the England match, ruining his summer.
"Nathan experienced some pain in his back following the two-day tour match against England last week," Cricket Australia Sports Science and Sports Medicine Manager Alex Kountouris said in a statement.
"Subsequent scans have revealed an early stage aggravation of his old stress fracture.
"Whilst this is a setback, the good news is that it has been picked up early so we are only considering a short break from bowling while we monitor him.
"We expect he will have further scans over the next month which will determine when he can return to bowling."
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