The Australian cricket team has been training in Formby in England ahead of the WTC final starting next week and pacer Josh Hazlewood trained with the team on Monday, saying he was feeling good going into the big game.
Hazlewood, who has been battling with multiple injuries over the last six months, had to cut short his IPL stint with a side strain issue. However, he feels he is not far from bowling full tilt as Australia gear up for the big final.
“My fitness is pretty good and it is just a matter of ticking off every session from here until that date (June 7) basically.
“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,” he said.
“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. It is always good to get the first one out of the way and when we get to London we will steam in,” he added.
Hazlewood featured in only three games in the IPL before his injury flared up.
“In T20 you are bowling a lot of various different balls every over. 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,” he said.
Having played as many as 15 Tests against India, Hazlewood is looking forward to the challenge of playing the Asian giants at a neutral venue.
“It is a strange stat that as I think I have just played a lot of cricket against them. What is going to be interesting is playing them here in England.
“It is going to be interesting for both teams how they go about it and how different it is to playing them in Australia or in India as typically you only play them there,” he said.
“That is the exciting thing about it and everyone is looking forward to next week,” he added.
The side issue Hazlewood is trying to bounce back from isn’t the only concern the tall Australian pacer has been battling in 2023, he also picked up an Achilles injury during the third Test against South Africa at the SCG during the start of the year.
This clearly indicated that Hazlewood failed to feature during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series in India in February and March. He managed to mark his return to the pitch for the three matches for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL.
While Hazlewood only bowled nine overs during his stint in the league, the veteran seamer felt that he was in T20 mode and as he tried to utilize different types of deliveries may have been a cause that led to his side issue.
“In T20 you are bowling a lot of various different balls every over,” Hazlewood noted.
“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,” Hazlewood concluded.
India will play against Australia in the WTC final at the Oval, London which will begin from June 7.
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