Josh Hazlewood confident of regaining fitness for South Africa series
Josh Hazlewood. (Getty Image)

Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood, who last played international cricket in March during the infamous Test series against South Africa, is eyeing the ODI series against the same side starting November 4, for his comeback. Hazlewood and Pat Cummins suffered back injuries which ruled them out of the two-Test series against Pakistan, but the two are back on the road to recovery, for which their workload is being carefully managed and monitored.

Hazlewood and Cummins bowled significant numbers of overs – 22 each to be precise – during Futures League fixture in western Sydney. This was their first intense bowling workout of any form, and with another warm-up game in store, Hazlewood is confident of him and Cummins recovering in time for the first ODI on November 4 at Perth.

“There’s the usual general soreness after a four-day game but things are going really well. The body feels pretty good and I’m pretty happy with how Pat and I went,” Hazlewood told AAP. “We both got out of it what we wanted. There’s another second XI game next week. They’re just weighing up now whether we actually need to play it, we spent close to 200 overs in the field and bowled 20-odd overs, so it’s a nice build up for South Africa.”

Prior to the Pakistan series, Australia announced that Hazlewood and allrounder Mitchell Marsh were appointed co-vice captains. If Hazlewood is declared fit for the four-Test series against India scheduled to start in December, he will likely take his place alongside Marsh to serve as deputy to captain Tim Paine. While Hazlewood has been an integral part of the Australia team since making his debut in 2014 under Steven Smith, Marsh’s career has been one filled with injuries and inconsistency. But will Hazlewood be serving that role for the ODIs against South Africa?

“I’m not too worried about whether I’m named vice-captain or not,” he said. It’s probably been my longest break not putting on an Australian cap. I’ve missed a little bit of ODI cricket through being rested and injured during the last couple of years, so I’m just looking forward to getting out there and being really fresh for a white-ball series. It rarely happens… Patty and I have talked a lot about it. We can’t wait.”