Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Australia have called up left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe to replace pace bowler Josh Hazlewood for the ongoing Test series in Bangladesh.
Hazlewood was ruled out for the rest of the Bangladesh tour and the upcoming ODI series in India after being diagnosed with a side strain.
The 26-year-old sustained the injury after bowling the first ball of his second over on the third day of the first Test in Dhaka.
Hazlewood, who will be returning home, is expected to be out of action for at least a month.
“Josh injured his left side whilst bowling during the first session of the match,” team physio David Beakley said. “This type of injury will require several weeks of rehabilitation, consequently Josh will be unavailable for the second Test against Bangladesh and subsequent ODI Series in India, and will return home for further assessment.”
O’Keefe was not included in the squad initially, even though he had a huge impact in the four-Test series earlier this year, particularly in the first Test, where he picked up 12 wickets en route to Australia’s 333-run win.
Given that conditions for the second Test in Chittagong are expected to be slightly more pace friendly, but still suit spin bowlers, O’Keefe has a good chance of featuring in the match despite fellow spinners Nathan Lyon, Ashton Agar and Mitchell Swepson being in the squad as well.
“With Jackson Bird in the squad we are comfortable with our fast-bowling options for the second Test and have elected to add an additional spinner given the conditions we are likely to face in Chittagong,” national selector Trevor Hohns said.
After the India tour, O’Keefe was slapped with a A$20,000 fine for his offensive behaviour at New South Wales’ end of season awards ceremony in Sydney.
To make matters worse, he was suspended from representing New South Wales in their Matador Cup campaign, which begins in October, and lost his central contract.
Meanwhile, pace bowler Kane Richardson will take Hazlewood’s spot in Australia’s squad for the five-match ODI series against India, which begins on September 17 in Chennai.