Josh Hazlewood to miss first Test against India

Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood is set to miss the first Test against India in Nagpur with an Achilles niggle in his left leg, and is doubtful for the second Test in Delhi as well.
In Hazlewood’s absence, Scott Boland is likely to play his first Test overseas, with Australia also missing Mitchell Starc (finger injury) and the bowling services of allrounder Cameron Green, who is recovering well from his finger injury but unable to bowl yet.

This setback is the latest of a series that has resulted in Hazlewood playing only four Tests in the last two years. He had injured his side during the first Test against West Indies in November last year, which kept him out of second Test of that series and the first two Tests against South Africa. He then returned for the third Test against South Africa at the SCG and picked up the niggle that has ruled him out of the Nagpur Test.

Hazlewood said the niggle was caused partly due to damp run-ups at the SCG during the Test against South Africa in January, and he did not bowl much during Australia’s training camp in Alur on the outskirts of Bengaluru. He said the he would resume bowling two days before the Nagpur Test begins on February 9.

“It’s [the injury] still lingering from the [Sydney] Test match,” Hazlewood said. “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. 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 off the bat and try and get over the hump and have a bowl from Tuesday and hope it goes well.”

Boland has played six Tests so far, taking 28 wickets at an average of 12.21 and strike rate of 33.2 but all of those games have been in Australia. “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,” Hazlewood said. “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. The guys are excited first of all to play in the subcontinent, they both haven’t yet, but they’re very well qualified to do so.”

Australia fly to Nagpur from Bengaluru on Monday, with the first Test starting on Thursday.

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