Australia paceman Hazlewood to shoulder heavy load
MELBOURNE – Rising paceman Josh Hazlewood can expect to shoulder a heavy workload over the summer as a victim of his own success, according to Australia coach Darren Lehmann.
The 24-year-old was man-of-the-match in Australia’s three-wicket win over New Zealand in the third and final test, stepping up to lead the attack in the absence of injured pace spearhead Mitchell Starc.
Hazlewood, who took career-best match figures of 9-136 at Adelaide Oval, was expected to have been rested for at least one of the three matches in the upcoming series against West Indies but Lehmann said he hoped the bowler could plough on.
“Test cricket, we have always said we are trying to pick the best side day-in, day-out,” Lehmann told reporters in Adelaide on Thursday. “So if we rest him, if we had to do it in the one-dayers that might be a better option for us.
“But at the moment he’s bowling well so we want to keep playing him.
“There’s a decent break between the first and second tests so I wouldn’t say there are too many issues there, probably the short turnaround (from) Melbourne-Sydney … but providing they pull up alright, if they’re fit to go, they play.”
Left-armer Starc, who is nursing a broken foot, will be sidelined for the entire home summer and has been all but ruled out of the return two-test series to New Zealand in February.
That leaves Hazlewood and Peter Siddle to lead the attack against West Indies, with James Pattinson likely to be the third seamer after being 12th man at Adelaide.
Uncapped paceman Nathan Coulter-Nile was also a surprise inclusion in the 12-man squad for the opener against West Indies in Hobart from Dec. 10, which has proved controversial given he has had no leadup preparation in the domestic Sheffield Shield.
Victoria coach David Saker labelled his inclusion as “ridiculous” after selectors’ chief Rod Marsh said his panel had opted for the Western Australian on a “gut feeling”.
Coulter-Nile, who has played 13 one-day internationals and 11 Twenty20 matches for Australia, was picked ahead of the Shield’s leading wicket-taker Jackson Bird and Lehmann said it was “a tight call on a whole heap of bowlers around the country.” “We think he has got something special, his one-day record for us has been exceptional,” he added. -Reuters