With the confidence of winning the T20 World Cup and IPL in the UAE, Australian pace bowler Josh Hazlewood is looking forward to the Ashes challenge when the first Test begins at the Gabba on December 8.
Hazlewood played a big role in Australia’s campaign in the T20 World Cup and, in the final in Dubai, he emerged the most successful bowler as Australia went on to defeat New Zealand by eight wickets after restricting their rivals to 172/4.
Hazlewood grabbed the wickets of the well-set Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson (85), Daryl Mitchell (11) and Glenn Phillips, as the Australian returned the best bowling figures of 3/16 from four overs in the match. Overall, Hazlewood snared 11 wickets at 15.9 in Australia’s first T20 World Cup title triumph.
Only New Zealand fast bowler Trent Boult topped Hazlewood on the T20 World Cup’s wicket-takers’ list.
Hazlewood, who wasn’t a part of the India leg of this year’s IPL but grabbed the opportunity to return to the Chennai Super Kings in the UAE leg, said on Tuesday that he had “learnt a fair bit” about how to bowl in the UAE conditions during the IPL.
“I’ve learnt a fair bit during the IPL with Chennai and the other bowlers around. They’re all from different backgrounds,” Hazlewood said. “You just learn little things from people along the way and try and put them into practice.”
Cricket Australia’s chairman of selectors, George Bailey, too was full of praise for Hazlewood, saying, “He has really come of age. Probably always had the T20 skill set but we just hadn’t seen him play a great deal of back-to-back T20s,” Bailey said on SEN on Tuesday. “It was fantastic.”
Hazlewood also said that T20 cricket had improved his Test bowling, which would be handy during the Ashes. “There’s certainly times within Test matches where your T20 bowling comes into play. The more T20 you play, the more confident you’re going to get in those change-ups.”