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August 10, 2019

Hazlewood praises pace-heavy Aussie squad


August 10, 2019

LONDON: Australia quick Josh Hazlewood feels that a pace-heavy squad lends variety to the visiting Ashes team in different conditions.

In a bold move, Australia sat out Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc from the opening game in Edgbaston, choosing to ally Pat Cummins with James Pattinson and Peter Siddle instead.

Hazlewood, who has been a regular in the Australia Test XI until not too long ago, isn’t disheartened over missing out as he feels all bowlers are likely to have a role to play over the course of the next four matches, especially since those fixtures are scheduled close to each other.

Furthermore, the 28-year old paceman who had bagged 21 wickets during Australia’s 4-0 Ashes triumph at home in 2017-18, did admit that

the fast bowlers were exerting pressure on each other, but it only served as a healthy competition among them.

“I think they (the selectors) have definitely gone a different way to 2015 and I think that’s purely because of how tight the Tests are (scheduled),” said Hazlewood, who picked up 3-34 against Worcestershire in a practice game for Australia.

“That’s why we’ve got six (quicks) here and any one can do a job on any given day. We’ve got three guys with proper air speed and three guys who seam and swing a little bit. I think that’s what they (selectors) have got six quicks for, to have all bases covered.

“I guess it’s just who’s bowling best at that particular time leading into the Test, and who gets the nod. I think every quick really feels the pressure of the other five and vice versa, and it’s great competition to have in the squad.”

Hazlewood suspects that England might be tempted to serve up a more seam-friendly surface — conditions suited to his own style of bowling — for the second game at Lord’s to counter Steve Smith, whose twin tons at Edgbaston were instrumental in delivering victory for the visitors.

“I think there’ll be a little bit more in it (at Lord’s), but in saying that, probably their best exponent Jimmy’s not going to play. So that might weigh up different options, but I think there’ll be more in it, maybe just to try to get Smithy out.

“But him batting on those sort of tracks is very hard work. I think it suits us as much as them if there is more in the wicket, so we’ll weigh it up.”

“If it’s a dry wicket where reverse swing might come into play, or it’s a very flat, then someone like Mitch Starc can come into play. If it’s nice and green and seaming around, then it’s myself and Sidds.”

When Hazlewood last played at Lord’s, in 2015, he picked up 5-88 in the match as Australia wrapped up a mammoth 405-run victory, and he’d love to another chance at the venue. “I’ve just played the one Test there, but I thought I got used to the slope pretty quickly and felt pretty comfortable there.

The conditions there have been quite bowler friendly the last few Test matches, so I’d love another opportunity.”