Former Australian fast bowling great Glenn McGrath has urged the Cricket Australia national selectors to stay with Josh Hazlewood’s desire when he claims he doesn’t want to be rested.
Hazlewood, who has managed to gain a cult reputation as the iron man of Australian cricket due to his extreme appetite for hard work, has recently requested selectors not to go on with the conventional thinking and allow him to keep playing.
The 25-year-old fast bowler has so far appeared in 17 of Australia’s 18 Tests that have been played since he made his debut in 2014. He played in each of last summer’s six Tests despite national selector Rod Marsh giving a hint that he would be rested for at least one match and while he couldn’t play most of the one-day series against India, he was again in action during the New Zealand tour.
Hazlewood has become the only fast bowler to play in each of Australia’s four matches on the current One-Day tri-series in West Indies. However, he has no such intention of cooling his heels, rather thinks he needs to keep going to retain his rhythm.
McGrath, who spearheaded Australia’s fearsome pace attack before retiring from international cricket in 2007, used to follow the same path and he suggests the selectors should listen to Hazlewood.
“The player needs to have input, there’s no doubt about that,” McGrath told cricket.com.au. “They should listen to the players, listen to Josh, and take what they say into consideration.
“I guess at the end of the day you want to do what’s best for the team [as a selector], but if a player is fit to play – and he can play – I can’t see any reason not to select him.”
After picking up three wickets in Australia’s defeat to West Indies, Hazlewood explained the exact reasons why he can’t afford to rest.
“As a fast bowler, especially the way I bowl, I think I need rhythm all the time and need to be playing cricket continuously to get that rhythm and feel better with my bowling,” he said. “I think it is different for everyone but that’s the way I feel, I need that continuous cricket to be at my best.”
His explanation looks similar to McGrath’s one, who played in 124 Tests and 250 limited-overs matches.
“I always felt once I got into the season the more often I played the more I could maintain it,” said McGrath when speaking about his rhythm. “I found if you had a week, or week-and-a-half-break, you came off that peak and had to build it back up.
“So, I liked to get ‘there’ and keep playing because I felt that was the best way to go.”
McGrath, after what he has seen from Hazlewood during the ongoing ODI series, suggested the pacer who is often compared to him is “doing well”.
“I saw him get three wickets the other night against South Africa,” he said. “Once Josh gets going he bowls good areas, gets that bounce and a bit of movement away from the right-hander, he’s got everything he needs to be a quality international player for a long time.”
McGrath also thinks Hazlewood should be now looking forward to the upcoming Sri Lanka tour, saying it will play a significant part of his development.
“There’ll be challenges for him there but there’s also positives … bowling with reverse swing … you just need to adjust to the conditions,” he said.
“He has spent some time in India so I’m sure he’ll adjust to the subcontinent conditions pretty quickly.
“You need to work on the ball because the wickets aren’t that conducive for fast bowling so you need to do something else to help and that’s where reverse swing plays it’s part.”