IND v AUS 2023: Injured Josh Hazlewood ruled out of 1st Test in Nagpur; doubtful for 2nd Test as well

Australia won't have services of Mitchell Starc and Cameron Green will not bowl in 1st Test.

Josh Hazlewood | GettyAhead of the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series in Nagpur, the Australian team was dealt a huge blow as frontline pacer Josh Hazlewood has been ruled out of the opening match thanks to an Achilles injury he had suffered previously.

The first Test of the four-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy series will commence on February 9 in Nagpur’s VCA Cricket Stadium in Jamtha.

Australia will already miss the services of Mitchell Starc for the first Test and the bowling services of all-rounder Cameron Green, both suffering from finger injuries suffered during the Perth Test against South Africa.

Now, 32-year-old Hazlewood has been ruled out as he sustained the injury on his left leg after bowling in the rain-affected Sydney Test against South Africa last month.

"Not sure about the first Test. It's still a few days away but it's sneaking up pretty quickly. The second one is obviously straight after as well. So, we'll play it by ear over the next week and next few days and hopefully Tuesday goes well," Hazlewood was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.

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The opening Test begins on February 9 and if he misses out, Scott Boland might get his first overseas Test. The Kangaroos also have Lance Morris in the squad who can bowl at a pretty good pace and has been working on his reverse swing as well.

"Just a bit of workload management at the moment. Just managing the Achilles. I was bowling a fair bit leading into the tour at home and sort of just pushing up against 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 on (in Nagpur) and hope it goes well," he added before Australia's final session at the KSCA Stadium in Alur on February 5.

In a period plagued with injury, Hazlewood has now played only four Tests in the last two years, and never more than one in a series.

"It's still lingering from the (Sydney) Test match probably. 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. It sort of worked to a degree. But just that extra load jumping off a soft ground to bowl and again first Test match. Your body is not used to that sort of workload as well.

It's been frustrating playing one Test at a time. It always feels the hardest Test to play, the first one and they sort of get easier as they go and you get to the other side, the end of the series, it gets hard again. Hopefully, I can string a couple together on this tour," he said.

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Despite all the injury breaks, Hazlewood's priority remains Test cricket with Australia set to play the World Championships Final and the Ashes apart from the Border Gavaskar trophy in India.

It's still the same mindset. It's still about taking every game as it comes. It's obviously a huge tour and a long tour as well. It's four Tests. It's not a two-Test series where you might push things to get up for it. Four Tests is a long time and the Ashes is there as well and there's cricket all the time. It's just about getting it right, you don't want it lingering around for months on end.

"The Achilles is a hard one, being a tendon it's couple of steps forward, one step back occasionally, which is how it goes for everyone when they've got this type of injury. Feels like it's heading in the right direction," he said.

Hazlewood also backed Boland to deliver if he happens to replace him in the series opener.

"Scotty has bowled plenty at the MCG when it was a flat wicket, it probably wasn't swinging or reverse swinging so he knows how to work hard for a long period of time. You've got Lance Morris who has worked hard on reverse swing for the last month and then a nice lead in here with a few sessions,” Hazlewood said. (PTI inputs)


By Jatin Sharma - 05 Feb, 2023

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