The last 12 months have been tough for Australian pacer Josh Hazlewood, with injuries plaguing him from making a regular appearance for the national side. Since November 30, Hazlewood has just played the one Test for Australia, against South Africa in Sydney before once again being ruled out due to an issue with his Achilles Heel.
Australia’s chair of selectors, George Bailey provided a timely update on the pacer, stating that he is still ‘building back’ to his full capacity and will play a role in Royal Challengers Bangalore’s campaign later in the tournament.
"Josh Hazlewood is still building back to his full capacity through the IPL, so hopefully he gets a few games over there in the back half of that tournament and starts to ramp up his return," Bailey said on Wednesday (April 19).
Bailey also backed the 32-year-old’s professionalism, stating that he knows exactly where to be for the national team during the Ashes tour. Alongside that, Bailey also indicated that the short four-over bursts in the IPL will act as a nice bridge before Hazlewood is reintegrated back into the Australian setup.
“He's reasonably experienced. He's very professional. Josh. He knows exactly what and where he'll need to be at his best for the Ashes. We're in constant communication as we are with all the players around that. He will be building, in some ways, that sort of smaller workload through four-over bursts in the IPL might be a nice build for him."
On the other side of the spectrum is David Warner, who is nearing the end of his Test career. Earlier in the year, Warner admitted that this year could be his last in the longest format, and Bailey reckoned that the southpaw could play an integral role in the World Test Championship final in Oval against India. However, whether he would play a part in the Ashes remains to be seen with Bailey remaining coy.
"[Warner is] invested and wants to make sure he helps us finish off a couple of consistent years on the Test front by trying to win the World Test Championship final," Bailey said. "The way we are looking at that is it's a culmination of what's been a pretty consistent two years. It's been a pretty similar team for a long period of time. We are confident that's a team and that's a makeup that can have success,” Bailey added on Warner.
With different opposition and a new challenge, Bailey reckoned that the management will think of the Ashes later, and will take decisions based on the conditions on offer in England.
"Not specifically to Dave, but I think we'll just get through that Test championship. We'll obviously be planning behind the scenes but we'll have a look at what that looks like as we get there. Different opposition and different surface in terms of going from the Oval to start the Ashes. So we'll work through that. We'll wait and see what the conditions hold when we get there."