Hazlewood ruled out of England ODIs due to back injury

Josh Hazlewood

Australia has suffered a major blow ahead of their limited overs tour of the UK with spearhead Josh Hazlewood ruled out with a back injury.

The 27-year-old was the most experienced quick in the squad after injuries had already ruled out Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins. Hazlewood will be replaced in the squad by uncapped Queensland quick Michael Neser.

“Josh has been managing some low level bone stress in his lumbar spine for a short period,” Cricket Australia physiotherapist David Beakley said on Monday (May 28). “He had a repeat scan today and although it has not progressed to a fracture he is starting to experience some lower back pain. As such, we are taking a conservative approach and he will not travel to England for the one-day series.”

Neser was part of Queensland’s Sheffield Shield title team last summer and has 41 List A wickets at 36.60. The 28-year-old will link up with the squad, who were set to fly out on Monday evening after a pre-tour camp in Brisbane.

Hazlewood has been the most durable of Australia’s frontline quicks but did return home early from the Test tour of Bangladesh last year after suffering a side strain. The NSW quick has had a big burden recently after playing in all five Ashes Tests and the subsequent four-Test series against South Africa.

Australia faces a tall order to win the five-match ODI series against England without their first-choice quicks along with former leaders Steve Smith and David Warner, who are serving their 12-month suspensions for their role in the ball tampering saga.

Kane Richardson, Andrew Tye, Jhye Richardson and Billy Stanlake are the other fast bowlers in the squad in what shapes as an inexperienced pace attack at the disposal of captain Tim Paine, as Australia embarks on a new era in the wake of the humiliating ball tampering scandal.