Josh Hazlewood has been pulled from the Australian National cricket team for the ODI series next month against England due to a lower back injury. The 27-year old posed as the front-line pace attack for the team with the experience of 21 ODI series.
With the absence of experienced bowlers, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, also due to injuries, it was expected that Hazlewood would take the lead of the bowling front but now with him backing out, Australia has a gaping hole of a total of 274 wickets to fill.
“Josh has been managing some low-level bone stress in his lumbar spine for a short period,” said CA physiotherapist, David Beakley.
“He had a repeat scan today and although it has not progressed to a fracture he is starting to experience some lower back pain. As such, we are taking a conservative approach and he will not travel to England for the one-day series.”
The tall pace bowler faced heavy workload with consecutive series as he played in all five Ashes Tests, the four Tests versus South Africa as well as three of five ODIs versus England. The right-arm-er has an impeccable record of 69 wickets from 41 games.
The veteran is to replaced by the uncapped Michael Neser from Queensland, who impressed at the Sheffield Shield as part of the Bulls. He gained a reputation as a skilled swing bowler in the domestic cricket scene.
He is to be assisted by Andrew Tye, Kane Richardson, Jhye Richardson and Billy Stanlake who have played only 4, 15, 1 and 2 ODI series respectively.
This comes as a massive blow especially after the suspension of batsmen, David Warner and Steve Smith, due to the ball-tampering scandal. With so many important team members missing, the team is going in with a stagger as they face the world’s number one ranked ODI side.
Led by Tim Paine, the team is to start the England tour on June 13th at The Oval. The team has a lot on their plate as they will play five ODIs and a T20 against England after which they’ll go to Zimbabwe for another T20.
Although the team does not look good on paper at the moment, captain Tim Paine still remains confident.
“Justin (Langer) sat us down for a team meeting last week and spoke about the Australian cricket team’s values, and what he expects,” Paine said. “It’s nothing that’s brand new, nothing the guys haven’t heard before — it’s purely about acting on what we know is the right thing to do and the right way to play our cricket.”
We’ve had Spirit of Cricket documents, we’ve had Code of Conduct documents, but at the end of the day, they mean nothing if you don’t act on them and you don’t live by them. That’s been a huge focus for us, has been around our actions, our behaviors and making sure we live up to the standards that the Australian cricket team should.”
“So we’ve spoken about it, but getting on a plane tonight now, we get to go over there and talk through our actions, which the guys are looking forward to. We’re not going over there to makeup or the numbers or be the nicest Australian cricket team ever to play against. We’re going to be really competitive, at the same time we’re going to be really respectful, but we’re going there to win.”
We should share the team’s confidence and support them on their way to the international cricket series.