Hazlewood soreness thins Ashes pace ranks
Australia's fast-bowling stocks for the Ashes have thinned still further after it was revealed Josh Hazlewood is suffering from shin soreness and will be out of action for up to a month while he recovers. Hazlewood had been set aside by Cricket Australia as one of eight fast bowlers to be prepared for the Ashes, and was believed to be in line for consideration around the time of the second match of the series in Adelaide.
However Hazlewood's likely absence for a month will rule him out of action until mid-December, forcing CA's team performance manager Pat Howard and the selectors to look elsewhere for their eighth fast man. Others in the group are believed to include Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Johnson, Ben Cutting, Ben Hilfenhaus, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Clint McKay. Chadd Sayers and the discarded Doug Bollinger are two pacemen who will now be under closer consideration.
"New South Wales Blues paceman Josh Hazlewood will miss grade cricket tomorrow due to shin soreness," a Cricket New South Wales spokesman said. "The management plan for Josh was for him to miss the second round of Sheffield Shield cricket, play grade cricket tomorrow [Saturday] before returning for round three of the Shield. Josh had some shin soreness during the first Sheffield Shield game that has not resolved, as such he will not play in the grade cricket match on the weekend and is likely to miss the next few weeks until he has fully recovered."
Hazlewood had been the subject of controversy earlier this week when he was removed from the New South Wales Sheffield Shield side for their match against Victoria as part of a pre-arranged CA management plan. This raised the objection of the state bowling coach Geoff Lawson, who thought Hazlewood needed to bowl after a poor display against Tasmania in the opening round.
A compromise was therefore reached in which Hazlewood turned out for his Sydney grade side over the weekend before returning to the Blues' Shield team for their match against Queensland in Brisbane a week before the first Test. However he has now joined James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc and Jackson Bird among the list of quick bowlers unavailable as the Ashes series looms.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here