Australia’s fast bowling plans for the ODI series against England have been thrown out by a virus afflicting Josh Hazlewood, meaning he is unavailable for the Brisbane game on Friday. Hazlewood’s unavailability places Jhye Richardson in line to debut.
Having been rested from the first ODI on Sunday, Hazlewood was meant to have rejoined the squad at the Gabba with Pat Cummins to spend some time at home in Sydney after playing at the MCG.
While Cummins is still resting, Hazlewood’s illness leaves the Australians with only 12 players to choose from. Richardson, who played two Twenty20 matches for Australia against Sri Lanka last summer, is likely to come into the side as a result.
Hazlewood’s virus maintains a pattern of illness that has affected numerous members of both the Australia and England squads since the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. Cummins was the first player to be affected, with Tim Paine, David Warner and Steven Smith all subsequently ill among the hosts. In the opposition camp, England captain Joe Root and top-order batsman James Vince have also been stricken while on tour.
“We’ve seen it all through the summer from both sides, there’s been quite a lot of illness, which is strange,” opener Aaron Finch said. “While Josh has gone down – Patty and Steve during the Test match – does cause a bit of angst among the group. It causes a bit of separation. Guys don’t want to hang around with each other in case they’re spreading it on, but the guys that are there to come in and potentially take their spot if they need are in great form as well.”
Paine is still feeling the effects of his illness, forcing the selectors to call up the South Australian wicketkeeper Alex Carey as cover.
“Alex Carey, who will be on standby, just got a beautiful hundred last night,” Finch said. “He’s taken his game to another level. He showed a lot of promise in Shield cricket over the last couple of years, and then to come out this year, when there was a lot of talk about the Ashes ‘keeping spot, and who was going to play The way that he put his hand up and has continued to do so for such a young guy is really impressive.”
Richardson, clocked at speeds of up to 149 kph over the past year, has said he will be ready to fulfil whatever role Smith requires.
“That’s something we have to sum up when we play,” he said before the Melbourne game. “I could come in and need to play a different role than being the impact bowler. I could have to come in and try to tie up an end during a period where they’re going really well. I’m ready for whatever challenge pops up. If I do get to play and I need to come in and do a particular job, then I’m ready for it.
“You have to be quite disciplined, you’ve got 60 balls, not 24. In the Big Bash, you can go for a few boundaries but one dot ball out of 24 is [more important] than one out of 60. But having said that, if you go to the boundary more often in a one-day game, you’ve got 60 balls to do that, so you’ve got to be quite a lot more disciplined in the sense that you’ve got a lot more balls to bowl, a lot more good balls.
“It’s not all about pace, we get told that quite early. Especially at this level, you can bowl as fast as you want but if you’re not bowling well it goes to the boundary just as quick.”