Australia’s white-ball captain Aaron Finch believes that seamer Josh Hazlewood will once again play a key role in the upcoming 20-20 world cup in Australia. The seamer has significantly improved in the shortest format of the game after he participated in the Indian T20 league in 2020.
The 31-year-old bowler is the number one ranked bowler in the T20I rankings. Hazlewood has been successful in attacking with the new ball, and keeping the runs down at the death. With just 100 more days to go for the 20-over World Cup in Australia, all the teams are finalising their squad to have the best shot of winning the tournament this year.
“He has always had the skill. For such a long time his focus was just on Test cricket and he didn’t have a proper block of training to concentrate on T20 cricket. I think he got that in the lead-up to the last 20-20 World Cup, while playing all 14 games for Chennai (Super Kings) plus a couple of finals in the Indian T20 League(also helped),” Finch was quoted by News 18.
Hazlewood was part of the Chennai Franchise winning squad in 2021 where he picked up 11 wickets in nine games. He represented the Bangalore franchise in 2022 and had an impressive season as he picked up 20 wickets in 12 matches.
“His ability to upskill so quickly is not a surprise as he is highly skilled. How consistent he is and how efficient in all conditions has been remarkable, but not surprising,” Finch added while hinting that Hazlewood will play a crucial role in the upcoming 20-20 world cup.
Australia were crowned champions in the 20-20 World Cup last year and will be defending their title this year on their home soil. Adam Zampa played an important role for the Australian side in keeping the runs down and picking up key wickets in the middle overs. Finch believes that spinners will be effective in the tournament later this year as they will have big boundaries in Australian grounds working in their favour.
“Spin is always going to have an impact in T20 cricket, especially on bigger grounds in Australia. Here you have got to hit it a hard way to get it to the boundary so I think spin will play a big part, especially in the middle overs. Wickets in middle overs are going to be crucial as well. All the stats suggest, that if you are two down going into the final five overs it doesn’t matter who is bowling. You could have the best (bowler) of all time they are still going to cop some pain,” he stated.