Australian pace bowler Josh Hazlewood has conceded he is trying to come to terms with the selection pressures in the fast-bowling department, given that some top-quality quicks are in contention for Test slots at all times.
The 31-year-old Hazlewood suffered a side strain during the first Test against West Indies, which ruled him out of the last three Tests - second Test against the Caribbean side and the first two games against South Africa.
Hazlewood was in contention for a spot along with Scott Boland for the Boxing Day Test but withdrew in the lead up to the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) game.
Now fully recovered, the bowling stalwart says being in and out of the team in the last 13 months has been frustrating.
“It has been (a strange run),” Hazlewood was quoted as saying by SEN on Tuesday.
“I feel like I’ve played a lot of cricket in the past two years, it’s obviously predominantly been white-ball cricket. I’ve really only had these two little injuries. Last year I missed maybe four weeks and this year I missed two weeks. It just seems to be at the wrong time I guess, bad timing. But I’ve literally been fit for the rest of the time. It’s just been a little bit frustrating the timing of it and missing the Test matches at home in particular,” he added.
Hazlewood, who is eyeing a berth in the third Test against South Africa at Sydney beginning on Wednesday, added he likes the longest format of the game because he “thrives on a lot of bowling”.
“I’m certainly someone who thrives on a lot of bowling… the more you bowl the better the rhythm feels most of the time and the body hardens up and gets used to Test cricket. That’s probably one thing I’ve lacked in red-ball cricket (recently).”
Hazlewood was not part of two of the three Tests in Pakistan, while against Sri Lanka the selectors opted for an extra spinner, thus giving him just three of the last 14 Tests.
For a bowler who has taken 217 Test wickets, it’s a bit of a disappointment but Hazlewood says competition for slots is a healthy trend.
“I think it’s (competition) good, it definitely keeps you on your toes,” the bowler said of the selection pressure in his department.
“I think for the big series and the home summer, you probably got to use more than three quicks. It helps more with Greeny (Cameron Green) there, you can probably get away with it a bit more, but to have that depth and to have characteristics of certain bowlers covered by other bowlers, like-for-like changes here and there, it’s good to have that variety. Going to India and England, that’s nine Test matches plus the World Test Championship (WTC). You’re going to use more than three quicks,” he added.
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