Josh Hazlewood will miss the initial stages of the Indian Premier League, but remains hopeful of turning out for Royal Challengers Bangalore later in the tournament.
Hazlewood has endured a frustrating run of injuries, the latest of which is an Achilles problem that saw him sidelined from all four Border-Gavaskar Tests in India.
The 32-year-old, who missed time with side strains over the past two home Test summers, suffered the Achilles strain after bowling on damp run-ups at the SCG Test in January. Soggy and soft parts of the field from where Hazlewood launched into his bowling stride placed extra strain on the his body and has taken the fast bowler an extended time to recover from.
Hazlewood, who is on a $1.44m deal with RCB after they picked him up at the 2022 ‘mega-auction’, remains at home having been sent back to Sydney after missing the first two Tests in India, and will consult with Cricket Australia’s medical staff before making the journey to the IPL.
Australia face a hectic winter schedule with the World Test Championship before five Ashes Tests, all in the UK in June-July, before limited-overs cricket takes over in September ahead of the ODI World Cup in India in October and November.
While Hazlewood is keen to return to action through the IPL, he has stated Test cricket remains his No.1 priority.
“As fun as T20 is and as lucrative as it is, I find it still plays second fiddle to Test cricket,” Hazlewood said in February while in Bengaluru.
“This series, Ashes series, home summers are what you play cricket for. I don’t think that will ever change.
“I’ve chatted with guys at Cricket Australia, Cricket NSW … to get a plan together (to manage his body). It’s probably about short-term loss versus long-term gain a lot of the time.
“You’ve got a T20 World Cup or an IPL or a one-day series, it’s about still ticking those boxes off the field to be ready to go for a Test series.
“It might hurt that particular series, or you might not be 100 per cent but in the long term you might be better placed for an Ashes or a home Test summer. It’s just about summing up what’s right and how much you can do.”
Glenn Maxwell, who missed Australia’s final two ODIs against India earlier this month, remains an uncertain starter for RCB’s opening game of the IPL as he continues to recuperate from a leg injury.
Maxwell, who broke his leg in a freak accident at a friend’s birthday party last November, found the return to ODI cricket “more demanding than he had expected”, according to national selector George Bailey.
Maxwell is understood to have been working hard on strength and conditioning in the gym with RCB in a bid to be fit for their opening match on Sunday night against the Mumbai Indians, for whom Australia allrounder Cameron Green is set to make his IPL debut.
Thirteen Australians with a collective value of more than $10 million will be in action at this year’s IPL that begins on Friday night.
Green, who sold for an eye-watering A$3.15 million at the auction last December, linked up with the Mumbai franchise this week following a short break after Australia’s Test and one-day series in the country.
Green has already been in India for eight weeks with the Aussie squad, and faces another nine in the country before heading to England for the World Test Championship final and Ashes tours.
With a limited overs tour of South Africa in September, ahead of a return to India for the ODI World Cup and five-game T20 series that follows, Green is in the midst of a hectic year should he continue to play all formats.
David Warner, who will captain the Delhi Capitals in this year’s IPL, is the only other player who could match Green’s workload this year, but already had time off during the India tour after a trip home following a concussion and elbow fracture.
Australia’s Test squad is expected to assemble in the UK on May 29, the day after the IPL season is scheduled to finish, ahead of the World Test Championship final beginning on June 7.
Aussies in IPL 2023
Delhi Capitals: Mitch Marsh ($1.2m), David Warner ($1.16m)
Gujarat Titans: Matthew Wade ($446,000)
Lucknow Super Giants: Marcus Stoinis ($1.7m), Daniel Sams ($135,000)
Mumbai Indians: Tim David ($1.53m), Cameron Green ($3.15m),
Punjab Kings: Nathan Ellis ($135,000), Matt Short ($36,000)
Rajasthan Royals: Adam Zampa ($270,000)
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Jason Behrendorff ($135,000), Josh Hazlewood ($1.4m), Glenn Maxwell ($2m)
Figures represent auction price in Australian dollars at time of sale