No surprise if some Australian players skip Pakistan tour: Josh Hazlewood

Published February 2, 2022
This file photo shows Australia's Josh Hazlewood in action during the World T20 2021 final against New Zealand on Nov 14. — Reuters/File
This file photo shows Australia's Josh Hazlewood in action during the World T20 2021 final against New Zealand on Nov 14. — Reuters/File

Australian pace bowler Josh Hazlewood said on Wednesday he would not be surprised if security fears prompt some players to opt out of the upcoming Pakistan tour, as he eyes a comeback to the national team after recovering from injury.

Australia are scheduled to play three Tests, three one-day internationals and one Twenty20 starting on March 3 in their first trip to Pakistan in 24 years.

A media report last week said many in the Australian camp were apprehensive about whether Pakistan would be safe.

Hazlewood said Cricket Australia's reassurances had eased his concern.

Read: Australian players nervous about Pakistan tour: report

“There's a lot of things in place and there's been a lot of work in the background ... so the trust is quite high there from the players,” Hazlewood told cricket.com.au.

“But there'd certainly be some concerns from the players and I wouldn't be surprised if some of them don't make the tour.

“And that's very fair. People will discuss it with their families ... and come up with an answer and everyone respects that.”

Hazlewood, 31, part of a 16-man Australian squad for the five-match Twenty20 home series against Sri Lanka starting on Feb 11, is raring to go after missing all but the first Test in the recent Ashes series.

Sidelined by a side strain after the first Test in Brisbane, he was forced to watch on as his teammates celebrated a 4-0 series shellacking.

It was a puzzling injury.

“I've certainly had a typical side strain, where you tear your oblique (muscle), you can't bowl another ball and are out for at least six or seven weeks,” he said.

Also read: ACA chief upbeat all selected Australian players will tour Pakistan

“This one was different ... the strength came back really quickly, and I could do a lot of things in the gym. It was just bowling, that dynamic movement, that caused a bit of grief. It was an unusual one.”

Long part of Australia's three-pronged pace attack with Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc, Hazlewood has taken 215 test wickets at an average of 25 runs per wicket.

But he must now wrest his test place back from Scott Boland, who took 18 wickets in three Tests, including an unlikely haul of six wickets for seven in the second innings of his debut.

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