SYDNEY: Ahead of the Sydney Test against South Africa starting from January 4, Australia's right-arm fast-bowler Josh Hazlewood put down his recent clash with injuries to them happening at the wrong time of the year.
Hazlewood suffered a side strain during the first Test against West Indies in Perth and hasn't been in action since then. He then ruled himself out from playing the Boxing Day Test against South Africa in Melbourne, and is now on the verge of a comeback in the longer format at Sydney.
"It's frustrating, definitely. I don't feel like I've been injured much...it just happens to be at the wrong time of the year, after the first Test. The Test matches are so close together now. Apart from that, (for) the rest of the 24 months I've been fit and firing. So it's frustrating when you think about it like that," Hazlewood was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
Incidentally, the similar injury Hazlewood picked during the opening match of the Ashes at Brisbane last year had ended his Test summer last year. "I think it's just part of fast bowling that it's a strength issue at times and it's a workload issue at times. Nothing too much to worry about, just little things I'll need to tick off in the future," he added.
With Mitchell Starc and Cameron Green ruled out of the Sydney Test due to injuries, Hazlewood can play in the match at his home ground though there's the temptation to play two spinners on a spin-friendly surface. He also feels that the fast-bowling hierarchy is still intact in the Australian team which also has fast-bowling options in captain Pat Cummins and pacer Scott Boland.
"I still feel like it's in place. It's always good to have pressure and every time Scotty's played, he's done remarkably well. With the Ashes coming up as well, it's a big one that he's looking at and he's a similar bowler to myself and Pat - we could potentially all play there together on a wicket that might seam and swing. It's great to have options and it keeps you on your toes."