After all the brouhaha of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the focus again shifts to international cricket. While England and Ireland face each other in the one-off Test at Lord's from June 1, all eyes will be on the upcoming World Test Championship Final between India and Australia from June 7 at The Oval. Both teams are suffering from several injury issues to key players and one of them is Josh Hazlewood.
He suffered an Achilles heel injury and ended up missing the entire Test series against India in February and also the three-match ODI series that followed. Even in the IPL, he could play only three matches in the second half of the season before returning home ahead of their final league stage fixture. While the decision to withdraw Hazlewood from IPL was precautionary, the pacer's fitness has improved a lot in the last few days.
Australia's had their first official training session in England on Tuesday in West Lancashire and Josh Hazlewood bowled at close to full tilt. However, to be declared fit to play the WTC Final he will have to bowl in full throttle in the lead up to the summit clash against India.
"My fitness is pretty good. It is just a matter of ticking off every session from here until that date basically. In T20 you are bowling a lot of various different balls every over. A wide yorker to a bouncer to a slower ball, and [the side] just got jammed up a little bit and a bit of scar tissue from previous injuries flared up.
"It calmed down pretty quickly. I had a week off, I didn't quite get back to going 100 percent at [the] IPL, but the last few bowls have been good and I have been building up nicely," Hazlewood told ICC. In case Josh Hazlewood doesn't recover fully for the WTC Final, Scott Boland is the front runner to replace him in the playing XI. With fives Ashes Tests also coming up with the opener set to be played from June 16 at Edgbaston.