Hazlewood concedes he may have to wait for Test return
JOSH Hazlewood has entered bizarro world.
The Test superstar is in Australia's white-ball team and out of its red-ball team, and he concedes that's unlikely to change until next summer.
That's because Australia's winter Test series is in Bangladesh, where spinners morph into magicians and fast bowlers lose their edge.
"It's going to be pretty tough (to get back in to the Test team) I think," Hazlewood told the Sunday Herald Sun.
"You really need a lot of air speed on those wickets, that's the main thing.
"It's very spin-friendly over there and I think Bangladesh will go the same way this time knowing how strong our quicks are.
"We only ended up playing one quick (Pat Cummins) in the second Test in that tour last time.
"I didn't feel like I was much of a challenge for the batters on those wickets, and I don't think Patty took too many wickets either.
Hazlewood is right. In the 2017's two-match series, Nathan Lyon jagged a mind-boggling 23 wickets while Hazlewood went wicket-less from one Test and Cummins took six from two Tests.
The ultra-consistent right-armer missed the past MCG and SCG Test matches against New Zealand with a torn hamstring but is ready to make his white-ball return.
It's been a long time coming. Hazlewood's last ODI was in 2018 and he hasn't played a Twenty20 for Australia since the 2016 World Cup.
But last month, Chennai Super Kings purchased Hazlewood for $400,000 and, with a home T20 World Cup later this year, it'll be a timely debut in the India Premier League.
Fortunately for Hazlewood, his game plan doesn't totally flip when he swaps red balls for white balls.
That's because in 50-over cricket he delivers plenty of overs up front, challenging top orders with balls that would ask questions in any format of the game.
Hazlewood has spent the past two weeks developing a few more slower balls and warmed up for India by bowling - and batting - the Sydney Sixers to a pair of wins over the Adelaide Strikers.
Hazlewood's first over leaked 10 runs, but that's all he needed to find his groove. His next seven overs reaped a very tidy 2-27, and he hit Peter Siddle for three straight boundaries to celebrate his 29th birthday with a win on Wednesday.
"My first over went for 10, and then I pulled it back after that," he said.
"It's trying to stay that one step ahead of the batsman.
"I was a little bit behind the eight ball in that first over and waited for the batter to do something, rather than being proactive and setting the pace from my end.
"That came good the last couple of overs and one-day cricket is probably somewhere between that and Test matches."
Hazlewood bowled Australia to a fifth World Cup in 2015 but was left out of the 15-man squad last year because he hadn't played enough white-ball cricket.
Captain Aaron Finch is thrilled to have a "world-class performer" back as he looks to take down Virat Kohli this week.
"The great thing about him (Hazlewood) is how consistent he is," Finch said.
"When he first came into the Australian team in Test cricket, people said he couldn't make it as a one-day or a T20 bowler because he's too consistent.
"But people have found him hard to hit for 10 years now. It's a great asset to bring back into the squad, someone who is so accurate and his form before he got injured was really good."
Hazlewood is rocking a slightly new action this summer after suffering yet another stress fracture in his back last year.
"It was probably the action that was the main thing that caused the issues," he said.
"I've tightened up a few things and hopefully it holds me in good stead. I was probably just falling away a little bit and getting a little bit more lateral flex than what I wanted for a number of reasons.
"But I've straightened that up nicely now and am getting through the crease a bit straighter, staying a bit more upright and following through straighter."