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November 5, 2012
Pat Cummins' loss is Josh Hazlewood's gain. The back stress fracture that will keep Cummins out of the home summer has in turn elevated Hazlewood to Australia's mandatory five-man pace battery ahead of the Gabba Test against South Africa, and may yet see him make his debut in Perth.
Already in Brisbane for New South Wales' Sheffield Shield match against Queensland, Hazlewood was told to remain in town instead of flying home with the rest of the Blues' non-Test players on Sunday evening.
Australia's hierarchy have been keen to have five fast bowlers on hand at each Test match this summer, not only in case of injury but also to allow the youngest paceman the chance to learn from the others. The national coach Mickey Arthur said Hazlewood's presence emulated Mitchell Starc's in-squad education last summer.
"It could be [that he plays] at some point in the series," Arthur said. "The theory around Josh is exactly what we did last year with Mitchell Starc. We thought that was a real good case study. Mitchell Starc was around us, he was ready to go when we needed him. Josh is very much in that role. Josh will be with us until the end of day one.
"We see a very bright future for Josh. We want Josh to feel what it's like around the Australian cricket set-up. We want him to train with us. We want him to feel the intensity and feel the build-up, so hopefully when he comes into the environment he knows what to expect and is ready to go from the first time we pick him."
Though his week with the squad in Brisbane is likely to be largely developmental in purpose, Hazlewood is likely to play for NSW in their Shield encounter with Victoria in Sydney from November 13 to 16, and may then be a chance to debut for Australia in the third Test against South Africa in Perth.
Hazlewood's probable schedule was that originally intended for Cummins, mapped out some weeks ago before the glut of Twenty20 matches for country and club that ended with the 19-year-old nursing a major injury in November for the second time in as many summers.
First glimpsed in Australian colours in 2010 when he played a single ODI against England at Southampton as a teenager, Hazlewood has wrestled with a series of injuries since, but at 21 appears to be maturing into the sort of dependable seam and bounce merchant who could balance the speed of James Pattinson and the swing of Mitchell Starc in a future bowling attack.
He was consistently the most impressive Sydney Sixers bowler during the Champions League, plucking seven wickets at 16.17 while conceding a miserly 4.70 run an over.
Daniel Brettig and Brydon Coverdale are assistant editors at ESPNcricinfo.Feeds: Daniel Brettig
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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