Australian fast bowler Josh Hazlewood has been ruled out of the upcoming two-match Test series against Sri Lanka due to a back injury.
Confirming the news, Cricket Australia physiotherapist David Beakley said that the 22-year-old pacer has sustained a back problem in the same area as his last injury in 2010 when he was ruled out of the away Test series against India.
“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," the International Cricket Council (ICC) quoted Beakley as saying.
Though it is uncertain as to when Hazlewood will make a return to the national squad, Beakley remained confident that it would surely be before May 30- July 14 World Cup in England and Wales.
“He will now begin a rehabilitation program and we are confident he will be available for selection ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup in the UK later this year," he said.
Hazlewood was earlier rested for the recently-concluded three-match ODI series against India, which the home side lost by 1-2. He, however, had played through the preceding four-match Test series, which was also won by India 2-1.
Meanwhile, Jhye Richardson has been called into the 13-man squad as a replacement for injured Hazlewood for the forthcoming series against Sri Lanka.
Richardson, who has appeared in seven ODIs and as many T20Is for Australia, has got the nod on the back of his impressive performance in the Sheffield Shield season and ODI series against India.
"Jhye Richardson 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. We consider Jhye to be an ideal replacement in the squad for Josh," national selector Trevor Hohns said.
Australia and Sri Lanka are slated to play two-match Test series from January 24 in Brisbane.