Australia fast-bowler Josh Hazlewood has urged the youngsters to step up to ease the pressure off senior teammates Steven Smith and David Warner.
Australia’s batting lineup has faced the flak in recent times after their dismal performance in the recently-concluded series against India. Aaron Finch, David Warner and Steven Smith to a certain extent were the only major contributors in the series which the world champions lost 4-1.
Whereas the likes of Hilton Cartwright, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade cut a sorry figure throughout. As a result, the reigning world champions failed to put up good totals despite the top order providing them with a good start.
“When they put up those stats up of hundreds scored over the last three or four years, it really does show that Smith and Warner score the bulk of those,” Hazlewood told Sky Sports Radio. “I think it’s a case of a couple of young guys standing up.”
The right-arm fast-bowler further said the upcoming Ashes is going to be a big series for Usman Khawaja who is in contention after being surprisingly dropped for the series against Bangladesh.
“It’s going to be a big series for Usman Khawaja. He’s obviously fantastic on home soil; he’s very confident of his ability here,” he said. “I think (Peter) Handscomb and (Matt) Renshaw can hopefully stand up and put some big scores on the board. Take that bit of pressure off the skipper and vice-captain.”
Hazlewood also said Australia would be looking to exploit England’s weak links in the Ashes. Barring Joe Root and Alastair Cook, England’s top-order is largely untested, and the majority feels they would fail to put up a good show in Down Under.
“They’ve got a couple of experienced guys at the top with Root and Cook, but there’s obviously some gaps there which are well documented,” he said. “The extra pressure falls on Bairstow and Stokes if he ends up coming, and senior bowlers.
“There’s a few gaps there in the top-order that we can hopefully exploit and put that extra pressure on those experienced guys,” he added. “Stokes adds some balance to the team but whether he comes out or not is out of our control.”