Josh Hazlewood ruled out of WTC Final vs India, Replacement announced
Josh Hazlewood sustained a side injury while playing for RCB in IPL 2023.
Josh Hazlewood, the Australian seamer, has been officially declared unfit for the upcoming World Test Championship Final against India, which is set to commence on June 7.
Despite Hazlewood’s active participation in training sessions and delivering deliveries at his usual pace, he is currently dealing with a left Achilles issue in addition to the side injury he sustained during his recent stint in the IPL. With the Ashes series immediately following the World Test Championship Final, the decision has been made to exercise caution and prioritize his recovery for the subsequent matches.
“Josh was very, very close to being given the green light, but we are cognizant that our upcoming schedule [the WTC final quickly followed by five Ashes Tests] means this is not a one-off Test match for us. 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,” Bailey said.
Neser replaces Hazlewood in Australia’s WTC final squad
Australia has chosen Michael Neser, a 33-year-old fast bowler, to be part of their team. Neser made his first appearance in the Ashes series at home in 2021-22, but he only played one more Test match after a year-long break. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that he will get a chance to play in the World Test Championship Final. Scott Boland, on the other hand, has emerged as the top candidate to secure a spot in the Australian team for this crucial match.
“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,” Bailey said about Neser. “He is a great strength to have as part of the fast bowling group.”
Cummins and Starc return to bolster Australia’s bowling attack
As for the other specialist quicks in Australia’s WTC squad, captain Pat Cummins is back after missing Australia’s previous two Tests in India due to family reasons, and Mitchell Starc is fully fit, having missed the first two games of that India series with a finger injury.