Blow for Australia as Josh Hazlewood is ruled out of first Test
Australia are down another of their veteran quicks ahead of the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, with Josh Hazlewood joining Mitchell Starc on the list of injured speedsters before the opening game of the marquee tour in Nagpur, starting February 9.
Hazlewood confirmed he will be skipping the Test match with a left Achilles niggle after aggravating the problem on the damp run-ups in play for the New Year's Test against South Africa at home.
Australia could also be without their premier allrounder Cameron Green, at least on the bowling front, due to a broken finger as the surge of injuries leaves the visitors massively understrength with the ball in hand.
For what is likely to be a surface encouraging the Australians to pick two spinners, Ashton Agar or Mitchell Swepson could combine forces with Nathan Lyon and Scott Boland with skipper and pace spearhead Pat Cummins.
Boland to come in for injured Hazlewood?
The other option in the squad is uncapped pacer Lance Morris. But for now, it seems Boland is a shoo-in for his maiden overseas fixture after dominating six Tests in home conditions since a mighty successful debut via previous summer's Ashes.
There were suggestions for the same at Australia's match-simulation drills on Sunday (February 5), where Boland and Cummins operated with the new ball in Bangalore, reported cricket.com.au. Australia will travel to Nagpur and undergo three-day prep before the first ball against India.
Providing an update on his injury, Hazlewood told cricket.com.au that the injury is still "lingering on" from the Sydney Test last month. "We obviously bowled after a lot of rain and the jump-offs were quite soft where we were taking off from, and they ended up replacing them as well," he said.
"It sort of worked to a degree, but just that extra load jumping off a soft ground to bowl and again first Test match (back from injury) your body is not used to that sort of workload as well."
"I was bowling a fair bit leading into the (India) tour at home and sort of just pushing up against it. It probably wasn’t recovering as well as I would have liked between each session."
"So thought we’d give it a few days here straight of the bat and try and get over the hump and have a bowl from Tuesday and hope it goes well," he added.
Hazlewood would be particularly disappointed over this injury as he looked set to continue on his comeback trail in India after also missing critical fixtures with side strains over the previous two home summers. Frustrated by the spree of untimely injuries, the pacer, however, backed Boland to deliver the goods in his absence alongside Cummins.