‘Sheffield games a great chance to stake claims in squad’

Cricket Sports News

Shared News • Last updated on Mon, 25 Jun, 2018, 08:17 AM

We’ve got the wood on them [India] here in Australia but they probably think this is their best chance of upsetting us: Hazlewood.

Josh Hazlewood, the Australian paceman, expects a keenly contested series when they take on the visiting Indian side later this year in a four-match Test rubber at home.

The home team, however, will be without the services of three of their main batsmen – Steven Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, after the trio was suspended for their roles in the ball tampering incident in South Africa, earlier in the year. Hazlewood, though, is confident of the hosts coming out on top in familiar climes while India look to post their first-ever Test series win on the shores of Australia.


“It’s going to be a tough series, as it always is against India,” Hazlewood told cricket.com.au. “We’ve got the wood on them here in Australia but they probably think this is their best chance of upsetting us. We’re going to be a few senior batsmen short heading into this series and they probably sense a bit of a weakness and (will) try to make the most of that. We’re pretty confident here at home. We put it up to them in India and we had chances to take the series but eventually lost it 2-1. Hopefully we get back on top of them here,” he added.

The experienced pacer also hoped that the country’s upcoming batsmen can stake their claims for a place in the national side on the back of playing five Sheffield Shield matches before the Test series versus India. Last year, three rounds of Sheffield Shield matches were played before the Ashes against England. “Hopefully they (aspiring batsmen) can relax a bit knowing they could potentially have 10 hits rather than one or two Shield games and then the selectors pick the team. Hopefully that brings out their best cricket and a few young guys put their hand up. It will give the batters a good chance to get a lot of match practice under their belts. You can train in the nets as much as you like but if you’re getting that match practice, five games is a lot.

“We had three games before the Ashes last year and I unfortunately could only play one. It gave the batters a decent hit-out and even the bowlers, to get that match practice, it hardens your body up. You can come off bowling in the nets but it’s not quite the same. To get that hardened body over a couple of Shield games before the first Test is brilliant,” he noted.

The Sheffield Shield season also will feature a first-class game between Western Australia and New South Wales at Perth Stadium. Hazlewood, who took part in the first ever ODI hosted by the venue last year, observed that the wicket for the 50-over game against England was quick and bouncy.

“The one-day was quite a quick and bouncy wicket. There were quite a few cracks in there so it will be interesting to see how that goes over four days. I don’t think there’s been too many long-form games there yet. It will be ideal to play there before the Test, to see how it deteriorates over four or five days. It will give us a good heads up as to what to expect in the Test. We saw that at the WACA from time to time and it hadn’t been as quick as we what we would’ve liked the last few years. But when you’re playing a team like India you want that extra bounce,” he said.