Hazlewood should be fit for Ashes opener


Australia opening bowler Josh Hazlewood should be fit for the Ashes opener but will not play in the opening round of Sheffield Shield matches.

The first class competition is being used as Ashes preparation but Hazlewood has not sufficiently recovered from the injury that sent him home from Bangladesh.

The seamer will miss New South Wales’ pink ball match against South Australia at the Adelaide Oval.

Hazlewood said on Tuesday at the kit launch for Australia’s 2017/18 season: “The side is really good. I’ve been off the full run the last three or four sessions, so getting back to 100 per cent. I’m probably about 85-90 per cent.

“The timing was a bit unfortunate but it’s given me a chance to freshen up and get some good work in the gym and on the running track.

“I’m feeling nice and fit.

“It’ll be good to put everything together in club cricket – bowl 10-12 overs; field for a couple of hours.”

Hazlewood feels that the Ashes preparations are in good shape and all the bowlers should be ready to face England despite having different roads to the opener in Brisbane.

He added: “You’d much rather play one or two (games), I guess, then freshen up in that third week.

“But you can always just bowl a little bit less at training in those days leading into the Test.

“There’s still a decent enough gap there.”

There has been much talk about Australia’s last clash with England on home soil where Mitchell Johnson tore through the English but Hazlewood feels spinner Nathan Lyon will be key.

He went on: “It wasn’t just all about Mitch. He obviously got the rewards but, on any other day, Ryno could have got the 30-odd wickets,” he said.

“Gaz (offspinner Nathan Lyon) is obviously going to be key in that talk as well.

“Hopefully, we can mirror that … keep that pressure building.”