Cricket-Hazlewood out of WTC final, Neser joins Australia squad

  • Cricket
  • Sunday, 04 Jun 2023

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - Third Test - Australia v South Africa - Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, Australia - January 8, 2023 Australia's Josh Hazlewood appeals successfully for the lbw wicket of South Africa's Keshav Maharaj REUTERS/Jaimi Joy

LONDON (Reuters) - Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood has been ruled out of the World Test Championship (WTC) final against India with Scott Boland set to replace him in the playing XI in the one-off match beginning at The Oval on Wednesday.

Hazlewood played only three games in the recent Indian Premier League after a side injury flared up while he also grappled with a left Achilles issue.

The 32-year-old was hopeful of playing the WTC final but was replaced by Michael Neser in their 15-man squad though Boland is likely to be Australia's third fast bowler alongside skipper Pat Cummins and left-arm quick Mitchell Starc.

"Josh was very, very close to being given the green light but we are cognisant that our upcoming schedule means this is not a one-off test match for us," chief of selectors George Bailey said on Sunday.

"This will give Josh an ideal preparation leading into Edgbaston," Bailey said referring to the Ashes series against England beginning on June 16.

"With six test matches in a little over seven weeks we will need all of our fast bowling assets."

Neser and Sean Abbott have abandoned their county duties and have been training with the Australian squad in Beckenham.

"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.

"He is a great strength to have as part of the fast-bowling group."

Coach Andrew McDonald said the short turnaround between the WTC final and the Ashes series necessitated effective management of their fast bowling resources.

"We've got the WTC final to play, which we are excited about, but on the back of that we have to quickly turn our attention to England and the Ashes," McDonald told reporters.

"So there'll always be considerations around management... I'd say there'd be some moving parts amongst the quicks."

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Clare Fallon)

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