Hazlewood expects Australian World Cup conditions to give bowlers a chance

Hazlewood expects Australian World Cup conditions to give bowlers a chance
Hazlewood expects Australian World Cup conditions to give bowlers a chance

Josh Hazlewood believes that bowlers will be in the game during the upcoming T20 World Cup and not just at the mercy of the big-hitting batters.

It will be the first time that Australia will host the men’s tournament which will take place at seven venues across the country.

In terms of domestic T20 games played over the last two years – which gives a much broader sample than T20Is – Australia ranks mid-table in run rate at 8.22. Australia travel to five venues during the Super 12s stage so will need to adapt to a different ground for each opposition they face.

Due to the pandemic border restrictions, T20Is have only been played in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra over the last two seasons with the latter not hosting World Cup matches.

“Think T20 in Australia, it’s probably a little bit better for the bowlers in a lot of regards,” Hazlewood said. “The outfields are bigger, the wickets have a bit more pace, [you can] use those boundaries to your advantage, depending where you are playing on the squad sometimes there are short and long boundaries.”

There have been some questions raised about the health of Australia’s death bowling, but in T20Is this year they stack up reasonably well against the other World Cup nations with an economy rate in that phase of 9.85.

“It was a great test being in that situation,” Hazlewood said. “A lot of guys got the opportunity to bowl at the end against some of the best hitters in the game on the flattest wickets and small boundaries. There’s always stuff to work on, of course, what fields you want, what balls you want to bowl, but there’s no practice like that [and] we’ll be better off the for the run.”

Hazlewood is currently the No.1-ranked T20I bowler in the world – one of only two quicks in the top 10 alongside Bhuvneshwar Kumar – but while the bid to retain the World Cup is the immediate priority, he admitted having an eye on Test season against West Indies and South Africa having played just two matches in the format since the start of the last season.

He picked up a side injury during the first match of the Ashes series in Brisbane which ruled him out for the series. He was selected for the opening Test in Pakistan on a featherbed pitch in Rawalpindi before being left out for the rest of that tour, and the two matches in Sri Lanka, as Australia fielded Mitchell Swepson as the second spinner.

“I’m really looking to the red-ball stuff coming up,” he said. “I haven’t played a great deal the last few years which has been a little bit disappointing.”

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