Australia Pacer Josh Hazlewood

The Ashes: Pacer Josh Hazlewood flies home, in race against time to be fit for second Test. Courtesy: IANS

Sydney, Jan 8 A day after Australian head coach Justin Langer said he was unsure about Josh Hazlewood returning for the fifth Ashes Test, selector Tony Dodemaide ruled out the injured pace bowler for the Hobart match.

Hazlewood had suffered a side strain in the opening Test at the Gabba, Brisbane and hasn’t featured in the series since. The pace bowler had hinted that he would try to return for the fourth Test at SCG, currently underway, but there is still some progress to be made on the fitness front.

Cricket Australia selector Dodemaide confirmed on Saturday that Hazlewood had been ruled out. “That’ll be a change in the squad from Sydney. Josh will stay in Sydney, it’s a little bit of conservative treatment there, he’s had that niggle for a while and as a bowler, they’re a bugger to get rid of those niggles,” Dodemaide told sen.com.au on Saturday.

“He also hasn’t bowled in a match in something like a month now, and with the series decided it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to push to get into a five-day game early on when we’ve got some white-ball stuff coming up and then a really heavy five or six months there,” added Dodemaide.

Hazlewood is expected to leave the squad in Sydney and return to New South Wales to continue his rehabilitation and be fit for the limited-overs series against New Zealand and Sri Lanka later this month.

Australia play New Zealand in three ODIs, the first starting on January 30.

“So, Josh will leave the squad here in Sydney and continue his rehab with Cricket New South Wales, and hopefully he’ll be ready to go and come back in for those white-ball games.”

The 31-year-old Hazlewood has been the backbone of Australian bowling for more than five years but pace bowlers Jhye Richardson and Scott Boland have seamlessly stepped into the role as Australia have taken an unassailable 3-0 lead in the Ashes.

Richardson took five second-innings wickets in the Adelaide Test which the hosts won by 275 runs, while Boland has so far taken 11 wickets in three innings at the MCG and SCG (fourth Test).

Source: IANS