Josh Hazlewood: My fitness is pretty good and it is just a matter of ticking off every session
Australia pacer Josh Hazlewood felt positive about his fitness ahead of the World Test Championship final following a training session at the Formby Cricket Club on Tuesday (May 30) while Hazlewood, who has recently been hindered by a side issue, was forced to end his IPL campaign with the Royal Challengers due to the problem resurfacing.
Australia pacer Josh Hazlewood felt positive about his fitness ahead of the World Test Championship final following a training session at the Formby Cricket Club in West Lancashire on Tuesday (May 30).
Hazlewood, who has recently been hindered by a side issue, was forced to end his IPL campaign with the Royal Challengers due to the problem resurfacing.
Due to an Achilles injury that prevented him from playing in the four Tests against India and the subsequent three-match ODI series, he was only able to play in three T20 league games.
“My fitness is pretty good and it is just a matter of ticking off every session from here until that date (June 7) basically,”Hazlewood told the ICC after Australia’s first official practice session.
“We will probably have anywhere from three to four more sessions – bat versus ball and then a couple of longer days in the nets as well or centre wicket down in London – so it is just ticking off those last few boxes and pulling up well from every session.”
“It was pretty close (to full pace today). I came down for a little bowl yesterday just to loosen up and to get a bit more out of today’s session, so it is feeling good. After a long few travel days it is always a case of the first one getting the cobwebs out and stretching out and doing some run-throughs just to gets the blood flowing. It is always good to get the first one out of the way and when we get to London we will steam in.”
Hazlewood only bowled nine overs during the recently IPL stint, but the 32-year-old believes the quantity of variations he used may have contributed to the flare-up of the side injury.
“In T20 you are bowling a lot of various different balls every over,”he said.
“A wide yorker, to a bouncer, to a slower ball and it probably got jammed up a little bit and a bit of scar tissue from previous injuries flared up. It calmed down pretty quickly, I had a week off but I didn’t quite get back to going 100 percent at IPL. But the last few bowls have been good and I have been building up nicely.”
After the WTC final scheduled from June 7 to 11, Australia will play England in the Ashes which starts on June 18. Hazlewood said that it was unlikely that he would play in all six Test matches, and that the Australian pacers, barring captain Pat Cummins, would probably be rotated during the series.
“If you asked that question three years ago I probably would have said I would have liked to play all six but it is just different now,”Hazlewood said.
“It is just so tightly consumed together now and coming off not an ideal build up … but we have got enough quicks here and a couple of others playing County cricket to cover all bases.
“Pat is perhaps looking at (playing) all six potentially depending how much we bowl in each, so you play it by ear a little bit. It is such a dense schedule, it is tough,”he said.
Some of the team’s quicks, such as Michael Neser and Sean Abbott, have participated in the ongoing County season, while Scott Boland has shown a steady growth over the years. Hazlewood feels the Australian pace department will be well-positioned ahead of their upcoming assignments.
“Ness (Neser) was on the (Ashes) trip last time in 2019, Sab (Abbott) has always been there or thereabouts as the next cab off the rank and Scotty – everyone knows (how good he has been) in the last three or four years. It feels like that is what you need to win a big series like this and with six Tests in particular we are probably going to lean on every one of them.”