Bendemeer speedster on the verge of making Test deut

HE’S dreamed of it and been earmarked for it since he was a teenager and now Bendemeer’s Josh Hazlewood is on the verge of making his Test debut.

The boom quick was yesterday named in the 12-man squad for the Third and final Test against South Africa starting at the WACA today.

The series decider has been described as a “grand final” for the Australians, with the No.1 ranking in the world on the line.

Hazlewood’s inclusion initially in the 14-man squad named earlier in the week, and then the 12, has been a talking point around Tamworth.

He is no certainty to play, with skipper Michael Clarke to make a final call on the 11 after he inspects the conditions and pitch this morning but, with two left-armers in Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson, Hazlewood is considered a good chance of earning a coveted baggy green, even if Clarke doesn’t decide for an all-pace attack.

The 21-year-old has been tagged as a future Test prospect since at 17 he became the youngest fast bowler to play for NSW when he was selected in the side to face New Zealand back in 2008, but has had a couple of false starts in getting to the Test arena.

After making his one-day international debut in 2010 against England, he was a couple of months later called into the Test squad for their tour of India.

But a stress fracture in his lower back forced him to withdraw from the tour.

He’s had a couple of injury setbacks since but is back in the form that first saw him considered for a Test call-up.

“I knew he’d be at his peak now. I knew he was going well,” dad Trevor said.

It’s been a nervous wait for him and wife Ann, brother Aaron and sister Casey to find out if he made the cut for the 12, and yesterday they were proud and excited.

The wait though still does continue, which has made it hard planning to get over there.

It’s a long way to go to watch him carry the drinks.

But if he does get the nod he should prosper.

“That’s his favourite wicket,” Trevor said.

“That’ll suit him.”

He recalled him playing for a NSW age team over there and doing well.

Aaron was still planning to go with Casey and her fiancee, and a couple of former Old Boys and Tamworth team-mates of Josh’s.

He hasn’t had the opportunity to see him play a lot at the higher levels.

“It’d be great (to see him make his debut),” he said.

“Very very proud.”

The two spent many hours in the backyard playing cricket and have shared a few cricketing highlights over the years but there’s little doubt this will trump them.

“It’ll be even more special being Ricky’s (Ponting) last test,” Aaron said.

His last and possibly Josh’s first.

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