Australia has been forced into a late change ahead of this week’s World Test Championship final against India, with Josh Hazlewood ruled out on Sunday night due to injury.
Hazlewood had been battling an ongoing Achilles and side issue and was already in some doubt for the final, having struggled with the injury since finishing up in the Indian Premier League early.
Michael Neser will replace Josh Hazlewood in Australia’s 15-man squad for the Test and could still figure in the final XI should selectors opt to play the all-rounder ahead of Scott Boland.
Cricket Australia confirmed the news later on Sunday night, with Josh Hazlewood “very, very close” to playing according to chair of selectors George Bailey.
The Australian fast bowler will now focus on making himself available for selection in the first Ashes Test on June 16.
“Josh was very, very close to being given the green light but we are cognisant that our upcoming schedule means this is not a one-off Test match of us,” Bailey said.
“Michael’s County form has been strong and knowing that he was going to be close by allowed for him to keep playing and for us to be able to call on him. He is a great strength to have as part of the fast bowling group.
“This will give Josh an ideal preparation leading into Edgbaston. With six Test matches in a little over seven weeks we will need all of our fast bowling assets.”
Josh Hazlewood had bowled at near-full pace at a training session in London last week and told reporters his fitness was “pretty good” at the time.
“It is just a matter of ticking off every session from here until that date (June 7), basically,” Josh Hazlewood said.
“We will probably have anywhere from three to four more sessions – bat versus ball and then a couple of longer days in the nets as well, or centre wicket down in London – so it is just ticking off those last few boxes and pulling up well from every session.
“It was pretty close (to full pace today). I came down for a little bowl yesterday, just to loosen up and to get a bit more out of today’s session, so it is feeling good.
“After a long few travel days, it is always a case of the first one getting the cobwebs out and stretching out and doing some run-throughs, just to get the blood flowing.
“It is always good to get the first one out of the way and when we get to London we will steam in.”