Josh gets the phone call of his dreams
NSW bowlers Josh Hazlewood, Doug Bollinger and Josh Lalor during a training session at Manuka Oval. Photo: Jay Cronan
Josh Hazlewood received the phone call every cricketer dreams of - pack your bags and welcome to the Australian Test squad.
The NSW paceman made a mad dash from Canberra on Monday night and drove to Sydney before jumping on a flight on Tuesday morning to meet up with the national team in Perth.
Hazlewood had been preparing to spearhead the NSW attack in its Sheffield Shield match with the Queensland Bulls, starting Tuesday at Manuka Oval.
But his selection in an expanded 14-man squad for the crucial third Test at the WACA Ground is a dream come true for the 21-year-old Tamworth product, who played a solitary one-day international two years ago.
The selectors also called up John Hastings and Mitchell Johnson, with James Pattinson ruled out by injury. Rob Quiney was dropped while vice-captain Shane Watson will return from a calf injury.
Hazlewood trained with the Blues at Manuka Oval at lunch on Monday - only to return to the ground several hours later to collect his gear and take another step closer to becoming the 430th Australian to wear the baggy green.
Speaking before his national call-up was announced, Hazlewood was pleased to have regained his fitness and had sympathy for fellow quick Pattinson, who has been ruled out for the rest of the Test summer with a rib injury.
''I'm feeling good, I've got through every Shield game this season and fingers crossed it stays that way,'' Hazlewood said.
''[Pattinson] got through a mountain of work in that first Test and unfortunately went down, but the quicks have been bowling well.
''Siddsy and Hilf, and Starcy might be looking forward to Perth … he's carried the drinks the last two Tests and bowled well in the last Shield game.''
Plagued by back injuries early in his career, an impressive Champions League tournament with the victorious Sydney Sixers put Hazlewood firmly back into the spotlight. He was secretly ushered into the national squad as injury cover for the first Test at the Gabba earlier this month in a sign he was highly thought of by selectors.
Former Australian wicketkeeper and Blues veteran Brad Haddin said it was only a matter of time before Hazlewood earned higher honours.
''Josh has been a phenomenal talent for a long time now, he's just starting to string a few games together and his body's feeling well,'' Haddin said. ''He was outstanding for the Sixers in South Africa on the world stage.
''He doesn't need to be worried about the international stuff - he just needs to be consistent for us and the rest will take care of itself.''
All-rounder Sean Abbott drove to Canberra on Monday night after replacing Hazlewood in NSW's 12-man squad. Even without Hazlewood, eight current or former internationals will be on show in Canberra's annual taste of first-class cricket. The four-day match starts at 10.30am on Tuesday and tickets are available at the gate.