Hazlewood doubt for South Africa series after suffering side strain

Josh Hazlewood is in doubt for the start of the series against South Africa after being ruled out of the second Test against the West Indies in Adelaide for a side strain.

Initially, his withdrawal from the match was attributed to “general soreness”, but further investigation revealed the side strain. He will return to Sydney for rehabilitation on Friday and will be reassessed after the West Indies series.

Michael Neser was recalled for his second Test, on the site of his debut last year, marking two changes to Australia’s attack, with Scott Boland replacing the injured Pat Cummins.

The first test against South Africa starts on December 17 in Brisbane. The situation is reminiscent of how Hazlewood turned out last summer when he suffered a side strain against England at the Gabba and then missed the rest of the Ashes.

“I feel with Joshy, he’s pretty flat,” Cummins shared Channel 7. “It’s a slight tension in his side. He was a little sore after the last test match, had a bowl in the nets yesterday to prove his fitness and was a little more sore than we all hoped.”

Last week’s Perth Test was only Hazlewood’s second since Brisbane against England. He played only once on the tours of Pakistan and Sri Lanka – in Rawalpindi – and Australia then opted for two spinners in the front line.

The fact that Australia lost two of their main fast bowlers early in the season highlights the challenge of seeing them through a hectic schedule that sees five Tests played in just over five weeks.

While the first-choice quicks won’t take part in the BBL in January, there isn’t much of a break before they head to India for four Tests. Those matches were confirmed by the BCCI on Thursday, with the opening test starting in Nagpur on February 9, followed by matches in Delhi, Dharamsala and Ahmedabad and the final test on March 9.

However, Australia is unlikely to deploy three front-line quicks and Cameron Green in all those matches.

As in Adelaide last season, Mitchell Starc was the quick first choice to remain in the XI against the West Indies. He has shown excellent resilience in recent years, playing all ten matches against England, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Lance Morris, the uncovered Western Australian fast regarded as the fastest bowler in the country, had also been added to the squad ahead of the Adelaide Test.

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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