Australia confident on Hazlewood despite side soreness

·2-min read
Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS

Cricket Australia officials insist Josh Hazlewood will be fit for the World Test Championship and Ashes despite flying home early from the Indian Premier League.

After battling injuries for the past 18 months, Hazlewood reported side soreness after his most recent IPL match for Royal Challengers Bangalore on May 9.

That prompted him to return to Australia, where he has since returned to bowling before being due to take off to England with teammates later this week.

The development comes little more than two weeks before the World Test Championship final against India on June 7, with the Ashes starting on June 16.

"Josh Hazlewood returned home from the IPL last weekend after experiencing minor side soreness after the completion of his most recent IPL match," CA said in a statement.

"After a brief and precautionary rest period, Hazlewood returned to high intensity bowling last week and will continue to increase his bowling workloads in preparation for the WTC and Ashes series.

"Hazlewood is considered fit and available for the WTC and Ashes series."

Hazlewood's fitness has long been a concern.

The quick has been limited to four Tests for Australia since December 2021, after battling side issues in the past two summers.

He was then sidelined for the tour of India with an achilles problem, which delayed the start of his IPL campaign.

Hazlewood remains in Australia's first-choice three quicks for the Ashes, but there are question marks over how often the trio will play together in England.

Australia have six Tests in the space of eight weeks, with three short turnarounds between matches.

While Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Scott Boland were the only pacemen picked in the initial squad, Australia will also have Sean Abbott and Michael Neser available in England.

Neser has taken 19 wickets at an average of 25.63 for county Glamorgan in second division this season, while Abbott has taken 16 at 27.81 for Surrey in first division.