Injured Josh Hazlewood misses India tour
A back stress fracture has ended Josh Hazlewood's chances of a debut Test in India next month, but it has handed an unexpected opening to Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson. The 20-year-olds will join Australia's squad as standby players at least until the end of next week's tour match in Chandigarh.
Starc, a left-arm fast bowler from New South Wales, will travel with the team from Sydney on Sunday while Pattinson, a right-armer, will stay with Victoria at the Champions League Twenty20 in South Africa until their finals prospects are determined. Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors, said the injury was disappointing for Hazlewood.
"He is one of the young fast bowlers we have identified as having an important role to play in Australia's future," he said. "At the same time it does create an opportunity for another two young fast bowlers who we are equally sure will make the most of the opportunities."
Hazlewood, 19, earned his one-day debut in June and was only an outside chance to play during the two-Test series, which starts in Mohali on October 1. Mitchell Johnson, Doug Bollinger and Ben Hilfenhaus form part of the first-choice attack while Peter George was also ahead of Hazlewood in the team hierarchy.
The injury comes after a busy off-season for Hazlewood, who also spent time at the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane. When he arrived at the Academy the coaches were intent on improving his fitness, but the extra load has taken its toll.
"During the past week Josh developed low back pain while bowling in preparation for the upcoming tour," the physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said. "Scans have confirmed the early stages of a low back stress fracture."
Hilditch said both Starc and Pattinson had made a significant impression at the Centre of Excellence during the winter. "The need for these standby players to return to Australia will be determined at the end of the tour match," he said.
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo