London: Australia’s preparations for the upcoming World Test Championship final against India have been dealt a blow with the news that senior fast bowler Josh Hazlewood will be sidelined due to a side strain he picked up during his time in the Indian Premier League (IPL). As a result, Hazlewood has been ruled out of the crucial match at the Oval from June 7-11.
However, the Australian team has included fast bowler Michael Neser in the squad, giving Hazlewood additional time to recover and focus on the Ashes series in England. Neser has been in impressive form during his stint with Glamorgan in the County Championship, taking 14 wickets in his last three games, including a remarkable 7/32 against Yorkshire. Although Neser has only played two Tests for Australia, he has already proven himself by taking seven wickets.
In Hazlewood’s absence, it is the fast-medium bowler Scott Boland who is expected to take his place in the playing XI. Boland’s style of bowling, which focuses on seam-up deliveries and hitting the deck, suits the conditions well. This decision reflects Australia’s strategy to adapt to the situation and make the most effective use of the available resources.
Hazlewood initially suffered a side strain while representing the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL. His limited participation in the tournament, featuring in only three games without much success, prompted his early return to Australia. Fortunately, subsequent scans revealed no significant damage or injury, allowing him to resume bowling upon his arrival in Sydney.