Australia have suffered a blow to their bowling stocks for the Test series against Sri Lanka, with key paceman Josh Hazlewood ruled out with a back injury.
The team’s vice-captain is being replaced by Western Australia’s Jhye Richardson in the squad for the two-Test series, which begins at the Gabba on Thursday.
“Josh has reported some back soreness over the last few days and scans have revealed a very early-stage stress fracture in the same lower back area as his previous injury from last summer,” Cricket Australia physiotherapist David Beakley said.
He said Australia were confident Hazlewood, who’s taken 164 wickets in 44 Tests, would be available for selection in time for the World Cup and Ashes campaigns.
Richardson, 22, has played seven one-day and seven Twenty20 internationals but is uncapped at Test level.
National selector Trevor Hohns said he was “an ideal replacement” for Hazlewood.
“Jhye has had an impressive first half in his Sheffield Shield season and no one could deny he has now continued that form in ODI matches for Australia,” he said.
Australia are now without both their deputies to Tim Paine, with Mitch Marsh not selected for the Sri Lanka Tests.
Hazlewood missed Australia’s two-Test series against Pakistan in the UAE in September with a similar back injury.
He was rested for the home ODI’s against India along with fellow Test quicks Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins.
Australia’s Test squad is due to meet in Brisbane on Saturday evening.