As he heals from a slight pain in his previously damaged side, Australia’s fast has resumed bowling at close to full intensity.
Hazlewood’s Race Against Time
Australia swiftly Josh Hazlewood thinks he has a chance to play against India in the World Test Championship final if he can go through some intense training sessions over the upcoming week after quitting the IPL early owing to some side pain.
After coming late to the competition owing to an Achilles problem that caused him to miss Australia’s whole four-match Test series with India throughout February and March and the following three-match ODI series, Hazlewood played just three matches in the IPL for Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Hazlewood’s early withdrawal from the IPL was made out of prudence, and scans revealed no side injury. Last summer, he missed three additional tests against West Indies and South Africa after suffering two side strains in the previous two years, totalling four during the home Ashes series in 2021–22.
But before the team’s trip to England last week, he was allowed to bowl at home in Sydney. Hazlewood went nearly full throttle during the team’s first formal training session in England on Tuesday in Formby, West Lancashire, after taking a soft bowl by himself immediately after landing in the country.
He informed the ICC that he was nearly fully healthy but would need to complete a week’s worth of bowling before being cleared to compete in the WTC final against India, which will begin Wednesday at the London Oval.
Hazlewood claimed, “My physical conditioning is pretty excellent. It just involves crossing out each session up until that date. Every over in T20 requires you to bowl a variety of different balls. A bouncer to a slower ball followed a wide yorker, and as a result, the side became somewhat jammed, and some scar tissue from prior injuries flared up.
It settled down relatively fast. I had a week off, so I wasn’t quite at full strength for [the] IPL, but my last few bowls have been solid, and I’ve been putting on some decent weight.
Before travelling to London on Wednesday for a three-day camp in Beckenham, Australia, they started their UK tour in Lancashire with a golf excursion, including a training session at Formby on Tuesday.
If Hazlewood wants to play in the WTC championship game, he must bowl well in two sessions on Thursday and Saturday. On Monday and Tuesday, Australia will practise at the Oval. Two days before a Test match, the fast bowlers frequently enjoy another productive bowling session before taking the day off.
The Australian selection committee will need to decide whether to support Hazlewood despite his disrupted training or to go with the dependable Scott Boland, who has had a 10-week rest since his previous appearance in the Sheffield Shield final in March.
Sean Abbott and Michael Neser were pulled from the Vitality Blast for their respective counties of Surrey and Glamorgan to train with the Australian team in Beckenham even though they are not included in Australia’s official 15-man WTC final squad or the 17-man squad for the Ashes that will take place right after the last.
Apart from the choice between Hazlewood and Boland, Australia’s selection will be decided for the WTC final. Due to family obligations, Pat Cummins will return to lead the team after missing the past two Tests in India. After missing the first two Tests in India owing to a finger injury, Mitchell Starc played as the only fast in Australia’s final two matches. He is now totally healthy.
Since the beginning of 2021, Hazlewood has only participated in four of Australia’s previous 19 Test matches and has yet to feature in consecutive first-class matches. He wanted to play every game but knew six Tests would be complex for the fast bowlers to handle in seven weeks.
Hazlewood added, “I would have probably answered I would have wanted to play all six Tests if you had questioned me three times years ago, but it is different now. “It is just coming across as being so densely crammed together right now and coming from a less-than-perfect build-up, but it is getting there now. However, we have enough quicks and a few additional players who play county cricket to cover all the bases. Depending on how much we bowl in each, Pat may be considering all six, so you should wing it. It is difficult since the schedule is so packed.
After missing the final two Tests in India due to a fractured arm, David Warner will be reinstated at the top of the order. Peter Handscomb, who played all four Tests in India, was left entirely out of the WTC and Ashes teams. Thus, Travis Head, who opened in the final two Tests in India, will move back to No. 5.
Cameron Green, Australia’s top all-arounder, skipped the early flight to Lancashire with the team. Instead, after Mumbai Indians’ defeat to Gujarat Titans in the IPL Qualifier on May 26, he made a temporary vacation home to Perth before joining Australia’s WTC team in London. Green is the lone Australian team member who has not been home since January when they were in India.
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