Injury blow for Josh Hazlewood; Scott Boland in line for overseas debut
Hazlewood is likely to miss the first Test [Associated Press]
The Australian team have suffered yet another injury blow, with pacer Josh Hazlewood's participation in the first Test against India in jeopardy.
The fast bowler confirmed a left achilles niggle caused by the damp run-ups during the SCG Test last month against South Africa. As a result, he is likely to miss the first Test in Nagpur, slated to begin on February 9.
The 32-year-old becomes the third casualty after Mitchell Starc (to miss the first Test with an injury), and Cameron Green (who'll only bat due to a broken finger), and this creates plenty of problems for skipper Pat Cummins and coach Andrew McDonald.
Hazlewood's injury means the fan-favourite, Scott Boland is in line to make his overseas Test debut, having already played six Test matches at home.
With just three days of break between the first and the second Test, Hazlewood faces race against time to be fit for the Delhi Test, which commences from February 17.
Australia are likely to go with three pacers, with Cummins partnering Boland up-front. The team management haven't ruled out the participation of tearaway fast bowler, Lance Morris as well. So expect quite a few surprises when the playing XI is announced for the first Test.
"It’s still lingering from the (Sydney) Test match," Hazlewood said of his injury.
"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 (back from injury) your body is not used to that sort of workload as well."
In the absence of Hazlewood and Starc, Cummins will have to shoulder the responsibility to lead the inexperienced pace attack.
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