George Bailey: Josh Hazlewood is still building back to his full capacity through the IPL
Australia’s chair of selectors George Bailey is hopeful Josh Hazlewood can increase his level of fitness as the six-Test tour to the UK in June while the 32-year-old fast bowler suffered an Achilles tendonitis injury during the home summer, which prevented him from playing in the Border-Gavaskar Test series.
Australia’s chair of selectors George Bailey is hopeful Josh Hazlewood can increase his level of fitness during the six-Test tour to the UK in June. The 32-year-old fast bowler suffered an Achilles tendonitis injury during the home summer, which prevented him from playing in the Border-Gavaskar Test series.
The New South Welshman joined his IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore earlier this week but it might take some time before he appears in their Playing XI.
Bailey and the Cricket Australia selectors are counting on him to increase his bowling workload through the T20 league having named him in a 17-member squad for the World Test Championship final against India as well as the five-Test Ashes series that starts immediately after.
“Josh Hazlewood is still building back to his full capacity through the IPL, so hopefully he gets a few games over there in the back half of that tournament and starts to ramp up his return,”Bailey said on Wednesday (April 19).
He’s reasonably experienced. He’s very professional. Josh. He knows exactly what and where he’ll need to be at his best for the Ashes. We’re in constant communication as we are with all the players around that. He will be building, in some ways, that sort of smaller workload through four-over bursts in the IPL might be a nice build for him.”
While Hazlewood is making a comeback, Australia’s squad for the tour of the UK is conspicuous by the absence of Michael Neser, who had his greatest Sheffield Shield season for Queensland, taking 40 wickets at 16.67.
With him playing County Cricket for Glamorgan, selectors will have the option of calling him up if they need to add more fast bowlers.
“The other advantage of the handy thing we have is that we’ve got Sean Abbott and Michael Neser over there playing county cricket. They’re obviously on the ground playing lots of cricket, so we can call on them if we need,”Bailey said.
“It’s great to have so many players playing County cricket. We keep an eye on all the guys that are over there playing. I think specifically around the bowling front, we’ve got our first choice for quicks over there. And then if we do need to call upon another quick we can be specific about who we need and why. And not necessarily have someone in the squad who ends up being superfluous.”
However, Bailey made an effort to provide some clarification over the choice of maverick opener David Warner, stating that while the 36-year-old was expected to start the Test Championship final against India at The Oval as a mark of continuity, he flat-batted suggestions that the player was a definite to start the Ashes.
The 36-year-old Warner has endured a prolonged run of lean form in the format, having passed 50 only once in his last 15 innings albeit that solitary effort was a double hundred against South Africa in the Boxing Day Test.
“[Warner is] invested and wants to make sure he helps us finish off a couple of consistent years on the Test front by trying to win the World Test Championship final,”Bailey said.
“The way we are looking at that is it’s a culmination of what’s been a pretty consistent two years. It’s been a pretty similar team for a long time. We are confident that’s a team and that a makeup that can have success.
“Not specifically to Dave, but I think we’ll just get through that Test championship. We’ll be planning behind the scenes but we’ll have a look at what that looks like as we get there. Different opposition and different surfaces in terms of going from the Oval to start the Ashes. So we’ll work through that. We’ll wait and see what the conditions hold when we get there.”