Josh Hazlewood impressed with nine wickets in the ODI series against South Africa © Getty Images
Josh Hazlewood impressed with nine wickets in the ODI series against South Africa © Getty Images

Nov 24, 2014

Australian captain Michael Clarke was named in Australia’s 12-man squad for the first Test against India despite still being unfit, though he could get to play in the second of the two tour games against the Indians. Fast bowler Josh Hazlewood too found a spot in the squad after impressing in the just-concluded One-Day International (ODI) series against South Africa.

According to a report in The West Australian, Australian team doctor Peter Brukner said, “We still have some time before having to make a final decision on Michael’s fitness. As you would expect, he’s desperate to play and we are doing all that we can to ensure he can do just that. Over the coming days the plan is to build him up so that he can resume running with the ultimate aim of getting him some high-intensity match practice ahead of the first Test.” The report went on to say that the Australian selectors would call on a replacement batsman if Clarke failed to recuperate in time.

According to AFP, chief selector Rod Marsh said, “Michael Clarke has been included subject to fitness. We would have preferred him to play in the round of Sheffield Shield starting on Tuesday, but unfortunately his condition did not allow him enough time to be ready for that match. “The aim is for him to play in the two-day Cricket Australia XI match against India at the Adelaide Oval starting on Friday and his selection for the first Test is very much dependent on him pulling up well from that match.”

Apart from Clarke, Shane Watson and Ryan Harris have also been drafted in the Test squad following injury lay-offs, while Hazlewood was rewarded for an excellent display in the ODI series against South Africa — where he took nine wickets — with a maiden call-up to the Test side.

“Josh is a young player of great talent and he thoroughly deserves this opportunity. He has impressed in the recent one-day series and we are excited to see what he can produce if given the opportunity in Brisbane. Ryan has worked extremely hard to return to elite cricket following his knee surgery,” he added. We know what a quality player he is. He will play in this week’s Sheffield Shield to get more bowling under his belt but we are all hopeful he will be ready for a big summer of cricket.”

Australia’s squad for first Test: Michael Clarke (c), Brad Haddin (wk), Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon, Ryan Harris, Mitchell Marsh, Chris Rogers, Peter Siddle, Steven Smith, David Warner, Shane Watson , Josh Hazlewood.

With inputs from AFP.