Australia fast bowling stock dealt with another blow, as fast bowler Josh Hazlewood has suffered a setback in a bid to prepare for Ashes when he felt he is yet to achieve his hundred percent fitness which subsequently forced him to withdraw from the first round of an impending premiere domestic competition of JLT Sheffield Shield.
“I’ve been off the full run the last three or four sessions, so getting back to 100 per cent,” Hazlewood was quoted as saying by Cricket Australia.
However, while speaking at the launch of season footwear brand ASICS, the pace portent Hazlewood is further hopeful of a potential return with a bang in the upcoming five-match Magellan Ashes Test series which is scheduled to kick off on November 23 in Brisbane.
“The side is really good. I’m probably about 85-90 per cent,” Hazlewood added.
Adding he is looking forward to warm-up himself in the next two rounds of the domestic set-up for Ashes campaign.
“You’d much rather play one or two (games), I guess, then freshen up in that third week,” Hazlewood maintained.
The 26-year-old New South Wales-based right-arm fast bowler was suffering from a side strain which he picked in August, on day three of the first Test in Bangladesh at Dhaka, as the series further resulted in a 1-1 draw after Australia won the second Test convincingly by seven wickets at Chittagong.
While deciding not to take the risk, Hazlewood was bound to play against South Australia on October 27 in a day-and-night fixture of four-day competition.
“It’ll be good to put everything together in club cricket – bowl 10-12 overs; field for a couple of hours,” Hazlewood asserted.
Having the impressive bowling average in Tests and ODIs, Hazlewood chalked out a fresh plan, before the ball would do the talking in home conditions against England.
“But you can always just bowl a little bit less at training in those days leading into the Test. There’s still a decent enough gap there,” Hazlewood remarked.
In the recent past, Hazlewood has been constant with his accuracy, pace and numbers.
The Kangaroos fast bowling department has already been often haunted by multiple injuries which included a foot injury to a wily customer Mitchell Starc, who made his return in the ongoing JLT One-day Cup and injury-marred James Pattinson, who has been eventually ruled out of the Ashes due to lower-back stress issues.
While concluding Hazlewood wants to spend quality time in the gym and allow himself to be mentally prepared for the all-important series after Australia routed England in 2013-14 Ashes series 5-0 when former pace gun Mitchell Johnson turned out to be a nightmare for Three Lions batsmen.
“The timing was a bit unfortunate but it’s given me a chance to freshen up and get some good work in the gym and on the running track,” Hazlewood concluded.
As the pace quartet seems highly improbable task for hosts even when Jason Behrendorff is knocking selectors’ door, Hazlewood has to shoulder the responsibility with Mitchell Starc, as Pat Cummins has been improving regarding fitness.