Steve Smith is confident Mitchell Starc will be ready for this summer's first test as Australia's spearhead continues to recover from what the skipper termed "one of the most gruesome things I've ever seen".
Smith's side depart for a tour of South Africa on Tuesday, with pacemen Starc and Josh Hazlewood both rested from the five-match ODI series that starts next week.
But Starc won't be putting his feet up in a traditional sense.
The left-armer required 30 stitches after a freak fielding accident at training last week, when he slashed his leg on a stump that had been dug into the ground.
Starc held the catch but Smith was among shocked teammates to see the resultant deep gash that prompted medical staff to call an ambulance.
"It wasn't nice at all. It was probably one of the most gruesome things I've ever seen," Smith said on Monday.
"He was aware it (the stump) was there. It was just one of those things, you go for the ball and sort of almost block everything out. As he was catching it, a few us were saying 'no, just don't go for it'.
"He wasn't overly impressed ... he was about to have a bit of a rest and chill out, they're the kind of things you don't want happening.
"It wasn't great but I'm sure in a couple of weeks he'll be ok and back into things .. we're confident he'll be ok for the first test."
Starc was expected to play a handful of games for NSW in the second half of the domestic one-day competition, which starts on October 1.
The express paceman, who will be in a knee brace for a further fortnight, will now instead aim to be ready for the Blues' Sheffield Shield opener that begins on October 25.
Should Starc suffer any setbacks in his recovery he will be racing the clock to be fit by November 3, when Australia's three-test series against South Africa starts in Perth.
In sharp contrast Smith is feeling refreshed after he was sent home to rest during a recent ODI series in Sri Lanka, much to the consternation of many former players.
"Everyone's entitled to their opinion .. we could have got the messaging across a little bit better," Smith said.
"We knew a fair way out that I was going to be leaving ... (but) it shocked a few people.
"It will do me the world of good looking at what's coming up."
Smith hoped Australia could gain a mental edge over the Proteas by winning the upcoming ODI series but acknowledged the next few months would feature a lot of tough cricket.
"The South African team probably won't be too different from the one-dayers to the test matches," Smith said. "It's a very fiercely-contested series every time you play against South Africa."