Australia suffered a big setback as senior fast-bowler Josh Hazlewood was ruled out of the upcoming World Test Championship (WTC) final against India, having failed to recover from a side strain he picked up during his Indian Premier League (IPL) stint in India.
The WTC final is scheduled at The Oval from June 7-11.
Australia included fast-bowler Michael Neser in the squad with Hazlewood reportedly being given furthermore time to recover and prepare for the Ashes in England.
Neser has been playing in the County Championship for Glamorgan this season and has been in fine rhythm, having claimed 14 wickets in his last three games which includes 7/32 against Yorkshire. He has played two Tests for Australia and has got seven wickets.
However, it is fast-medium bowler Scott Boland, who looks a more likely first-XI starter in Hazlewood's absence, in conditions which suits seam-up, hit-the-deck type of deliveries.
The five-Test Ashes series in England will start on June 16, and Hazlewood, who has already missed plenty of Test cricket action for Australia, will get more time to be ready for the all-important series.
"Josh was very, very close to being given the green light but we are cognisant that our upcoming schedule means this is not a one-off Test match for us," chief of selectors George Bailey said on Sunday.
Hazlewood sustained the side strain during his injury-marred stint with Royal Challengers Bangalore in the recently-concluded IPL in which he played only three games without much success before flying back home.
Hazlewood had returned to bowling upon his return to Sydney, since scans had shown no damage or injury.
Even though he is considered one of the pillars of three-man Australia pace attack, the 32-year-old has not featured regularly in Test cricket, playing only four of the last 19 matches owing to a spate of injuries.
Written with inputs from PTI