Australia have suffered a big blow ahead of the World Test Championship Final, set to be played against India from June 7. The team announced on Sunday, 4 June that pacer Josh Hazlewood was ruled out of the summit clash due to a persistent Achilles Heel injury. Australia chief selector George Bailey announced the development on Sunday, stating that the pacer was very close to play, but the decision had been made considering the Ashes series.
“Josh was very, very close to being given the green light but we are cognisant that our upcoming schedule means this is not a one-off Test match of us,” Chair of Selectors George Bailey said.
Australia pacer Michael Neser was named as a replacement in the 15-member squad, but it is unlikely that he would be given a nod ahead of Scott Boland.
“Michael’s County form has been strong and knowing that he was going to be close by allowed for him to keep playing and for us to be able to call on him. He is a great strength to have as part of the fast bowling group,” Bailey further added.
“This will give Josh an ideal preparation leading into Edgbaston. With six Test matches in a little over seven weeks we will need all of our fast bowling assets,” the chief selector concluded.
Hazlewood’s injury did not allow him to play against India in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy earlier this year. The pacer also played just 3 matches in the Indian Premier League and had confirmed that he was recovering well.
Updated Australian Squad for WTC Final
Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey (wk), Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Josh Inglis (wk), Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Todd Murphy, Michael Neser, Steve Smith (vc), Mitchell Starc, David Warner