Australia has included Josh Hazlewood, despite ongoing fitness concerns, in their 15-man squad for the World Test Championship (WTC) final against India. Hazlewood’s inclusion comes after he returned early from the Indian Premier League (IPL) due to side soreness. However, scans revealed no significant damage, and he has since resumed bowling. This article will explore Hazlewood’s fitness race and his potential impact on Australia’s chances in the WTC final.

Hazlewood’s Fitness Concerns

Hazlewood’s early departure from the IPL raised concerns about his availability for the WTC final. However, subsequent scans indicated no major injury, providing a glimmer of hope for his participation. Despite this positive news, coach Andrew McDonald expressed caution, stating that everything would need to go perfectly for Hazlewood to make it to the playing XI.

Josh Hazlewood
Hazlewood’s IPL departure raises WTC final doubts, scans show no major injury, coach cautious

Inclusion in the Squad

Australia’s decision to include Hazlewood in the final squad demonstrates their faith in his abilities and his potential to contribute to the team’s success. The selectors have considered his past performances and value his experience as a specialist fast bowler. With a strong bowling attack comprising Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, and Scott Boland, Hazlewood’s inclusion further strengthens Australia’s arsenal.

Competition among the Fast Bowlers

The selection of Hazlewood raises questions about the competition among Australia’s fast bowlers for a spot in the playing XI. With Hazlewood, Cummins, Starc, and Boland all vying for places, the team management will have to make careful decisions based on form, fitness, and conditions. This healthy competition bodes well for Australia, as it ensures a strong and well-rounded bowling attack.

Impact on the Team

Hazlewood’s potential inclusion in the WTC final squad brings experience and skill to the Australian lineup. As an experienced campaigner, he possesses the ability to exploit swing and seam movement, which can be crucial in English conditions. His accuracy and control over line and length make him a valuable asset, capable of building pressure and taking crucial wickets.

Josh Hazlewood
Hazlewood’s inclusion adds experience, swing mastery, and wicket-taking ability to Australia’s WTC final squad

Backup Options

To mitigate any potential risks associated with Hazlewood’s fitness, Australia has designated Michael Neser and Sean Abbott as backup options. Neser, in particular, is considered a strong contender to replace Hazlewood if required. Both Neser and Abbott will train with the team in the lead-up to the final, ensuring that Australia has contingency plans in place.

Conclusion

Despite fitness concerns, Josh Hazlewood has been included in Australia’s squad for the WTC final against India. The selectors have shown confidence in his abilities and believe he can make a significant impact on the outcome of the match. With a strong pool of fast bowlers and backup options available, Australia aims to field a formidable team that can challenge India for the WTC title. Hazlewood’s experience, skill, and ability to exploit English conditions make him a valuable asset in Australia’s quest for glory.