Hazlewood ruled out of Sri Lanka Tests due to back injury

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Josh Hazlewood, the Australian fast bowler, was ruled out of the upcoming two-match Test series versus Sri Lanka due to back injury. Jhye Richardson, the Western Australian pacer, has been called up as his replacement.

David Beakley, the Australian physiotherapist, however, sounded confident of Hazlewood’s availability for the World Cup to be held in England later this year.

Hazlewood, who was rested for the just-concluded three-match ODI series versus India, had previously sustained a stress fracture of the back in May last year. He had also suffered a back injury in September 2010 and subsequently missed the Test series in India. The 28-year-old has picked up 164 wickets at an average of just over 27 in Tests.

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Richardson, meanwhile, impressed in the ODI rubber versus India, taking six scalps. The 22-year-old, who made his first-class debut against Queensland in March 2016, earned his maiden call-up to the Test squad for the series versus South Africa last year. However, he didn’t play in any of the Tests.

The promising fast bowler has been in prime form during the current first-class season, taking 27 wickets at 19.03. During the course of the season, he also recorded his career-best first-class figures of 8 for 47 versus New South Wales in Perth.

“Josh [Hazlewood] has reported some back soreness over the last few days and scans have revealed a very early stage stress fracture in the same lower back area as his previous injury from last summer.

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“He will now begin a rehabilitation program and we are confident he will be available for selection ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup in the UK later this year,” said Beakley.

“Jhye Richardson has had an impressive first half in his Sheffield Shield season and no-one could deny he has now continued that form in ODI matches for Australia. We consider Jhye to be an ideal replacement in the squad for Josh,” Trevor Hohns, the chief selector noted.

Australia will take on Sri Lanka in the first Test at the Gabba, starting on January 24. Canberra will host the second Test, commencing on February 1.

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