Aug 13 (Reuters) – Josh Hazlewood is ready to lead Australia’s pace attack during the two-test series in Bangladesh in the absence of injured fast bowling colleagues Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson.
Left-armer Starc suffered a stress fracture in his foot on the tour of India and missed the third and fourth tests. He returned for June’s Champions Trophy in England but later felt the injury had not healed properly.
Pattinson was suffering inflammation around an area of his back where he had a previous stress fracture.
“There’s only going to be a couple of quicks in the team and a few spinners (but) as long as we’re working together, I think we’ll be okay,” Hazlewood told reporters at a team camp in Darwin on Sunday.
“I see myself as a leader amongst the group now.
“The team’s changed a lot since I first came in, and I’ve gone from a junior player to a senior player, so I try to take that extra initiative to lead from the front.”
The 26-year-old will have Pat Cummins and Jackson Bird as his pace partners in Bangladesh.
Uncapped Mitchell Swepson, who was previously selected for the tour of India earlier this year but did not play, was chosen instead of a pace bowler because of the expected spin-friendly conditions in Bangladesh.
Swepson is the third frontline spinner in the side, with off-spinner Nathan Lyon and left-arm orthodox spinner Ashton Agar also making the trip.
Bangladesh famously defeated England at home last year to tie their series 1-1 and Hazlewood was expecting tough competition from their South Asian opponents.
“They’re a world-class team,” Hazlewood said. “They had some pretty good showings in that Champion’s Trophy tournament and their test cricket at home has been pretty good.
“We can’t take them lightly, that’s for sure.”
Australia take on Bangladesh in the first test in Mirpur starting from Aug. 27 before the teams meet again in Chittagong from Sept. 4. (Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by John O’Brien)
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