The 31-year-old Australia National Cricket Team star right-arm pacer Josh Hazlewood is “highly unlikely” to participate in the first Test of the three-match Test series against South Africa National Cricket Team in Brisbane, according to a report in Fox Cricket.
Australia are currently involved in a two-match Test series against West Indies. After the series against the Kraigg Brathwaite-led side, the Aussies will take on the Proteas in a three-match Test series.
The first Test will be played from December 17 to 21 in Brisbane, the second Test will be held in Melbourne from December 26 to 30, and the final Test will be played in Sydney from January 4 to 8.
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Notably, Josh Hazlewood was ruled out of the second Test against West Indies due to “general soreness” but further investigation revealed the low-grade left side strain. Michael Neser replaced Hazlewood in the playing XI against West Indies.
Reportedly, Josh Hazlewood will not be able to recover in time for the Test series opener against South Africa.
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“Cricket Australia have told me that it is highly unlikely Josh Hazlewood will play in the series opener against South Africa,” Fox Cricket’s Kath Loughnan told Fox Sports.
“He’s currently at home recovering and resting.”
The current situation of Josh Hazlewood is remarkably similar to the one he found himself during Ashes 2021-22 when he picked up a side strain against England in Brisbane and then missed the rest of the Ashes.
Notably, the first Test match of the series against West Indies was Hazlewood’s just second outing in Test cricket since the Brisbane game against England.
Scott Boland, Michael Neser In Contention To Replace Injured Josh Hazlewood
The 33-year-old seamer Scott Boland and the 32-year-old pacer Michael Neser are in contention to replace injured Josh Hazlewood in the playing XI for the Brisbane Test against South Africa.
Boland has been extremely impressive in the 4 Tests he has played in the baggy green as he has bagged over 20 wickets at an amazing average of 10.33, an economy of 2.04, and a strike rate of 30.3. Michael Neser, on the other hand, has been terrorising Sheffield Shield batters in Brisbane for years.
Meanwhile, legendary Australia National Cricket Team captain Ricky Ponting and former New Zealand National Cricket Team wicketkeeper Ian Smith have backed Scott Boland to retain his place in the playing XI for the Brisbane Test against South Africa.
“Absolute no-brainer – Scott Boland will get picked every day of the week,” former Australian Test captain Ricky Ponting told Channel 7.
“Well he’s bowling himself into another Test match next week, I’m thinking,” Ian Smith said on Fox Cricket.
Also, the Australia National Cricket Team captain Pat Cummins, who missed the second Test against West Indies, is likely to return for the Test series opener against the Proteas.
“He’s well and truly on track to lead the team out in the first Test at the Gabba,” Loughnan said.
“He had a bowl yesterday and then he returned to the nets in the afternoon and had a bat. I’m told his quad has pulled up well, so he’s looking good to go.”
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