Josh Hazlewood has again succumbed to injury, with the experienced quick ruled out of the first Test between Australia and India.
The 32-year-old has had an interrupted 18 months, struggling to remain fit and missing a large chunk of Australia’s series against England, West Indies and South Africa.
Hazlewood will miss at least the opening match in Nagpure, and with the side already missing Mitchell Starc and Cameron Green, there is a vacant role up for grabs in the side’s bowling attack.
Pat Cummins is the only pace bowler locked in for the first Test, with two other men vying for the same spot.
MORE: Who is Todd Murphy? Young off-spinner included in Australian squad
Scott Boland has become a cult figure in the early stages of his international career, taking 28 wickets in six matches at an impeccable average of 12.21 in the Baggy Green.
The other potential candidate to replace Hazlewood is uncapped tearaway Lance Morris, who has impressed Australian selectors and has taken 59 first-class wickets to date for Western Australia.
Australian legend Ian Healy told SEN Radio that he believes both men could be included in the final XI for the opening Test against India.
“First Test, we’ve just got Cummins…we might play two spinners or may not, which would mean we’d need Boland and Morris.
“If we play two quicks, I’d play Boland – if it’s three quicks, then Morris gets in.
“I don’t think we win in India by being conservative, but I think just Cummins and Morris in together is maybe not enough.”
Who will replace Josh Hazlewood?
At this stage, Scott Boland is the likely front-runner to replace Hazlewood in the first Test against India.
With an incredible Test record to date on Australian soil, the Victorian cult hero deserves the opportunity to play his first away match in the Baggy Green.
Lance Morris is the other candidate to play in the side and earn a debut, especially given the absence of Cameron Green as another fast-bowling option.
Scott Boland career stats
Lance Morris career stats
Morris is yet to play Test cricket, but his first-class record to date for Western Australia is quite impressive.
Australia predicted XI vs India
- David Warner
- Usman Khawaja
- Marnus Labuschagne
- Steve Smith
- Travis Head
- Matt Renshaw
- Alex Carey
- Ashton Agar
- Pat Cummins (c)
- Nathan Lyon
- Scott Boland