In a major blow to the visiting Australian team, ace fast bowler Josh Hazlewood has ruled himself out of contention to play the first Test of the four-match series, scheduled to play at the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) from February 9. Hazlewood is still recovering from the left Achilles niggle he sustained last month in Sydney. Victoria’s Scott Boland, who is a part of the 18-man squad is expected to play the series opener as the frontline seamer.  

Australia have already quite a few injury concerns in their camp with premier fast bowler Mitchell Starc already ruled out of the first Test, while promising all-rounder Cameron Green, another regular member of the playing XI is a doubtful participant for the Nagpur Test. Injury concerns are hampering Australia’s preparations with as many as 3 first-choice players carrying injuries. 

Before Australia’s final session at the KSCA Stadium in the outskirts of Bangalore on Sunday (February 5), Hazlewood revealed that he has not fully recovered from an Achilles injury on his left leg that he sustained during the three-match Test series against South Africa at home. 

IND VS AUS: Scott Boland Likely to Play the First Test

IND VS AUS: Josh Hazlewood Ruled Out of the First Test
IND VS AUS: Josh Hazlewood Ruled Out of the First Test

“Not sure about the first Test. It’s still a few days away but it’s sneaking up pretty quickly. Second one is obviously straight after as well. So, we’ll play it by ear over the next week and next few days and hopefully Tuesday goes well. Scotty has bowled plenty at the MCG when it was a flat wicket, it probably wasn’t swinging or reverse swinging so he knows how to work hard for a long period of time. You’ve got Lance Morris who has worked hard on reverse swing for the last month and then a nice lead-in here with a few sessions,” Josh Hazlewood was quoted as saying to Cricket.com.au. 

One of the big three of Australia’s fast bowling department- Josh Hazlewood has played just four Tests over the course of the last two years. Given that he has the experience of playing in India before, it’s a huge blow for the touring party. Meanwhile, Hazlewood’s injury will put Scott Boland in contention to play his overseas Test. Uncapped Lance Morris is also in the fray as he brings extra pace to the bowling unit. A very little time gap between the first and the second Test means that Hazlewood is likely to sit out for the second match in Delhi.

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