Josh Hazlewood on Virat Kohli: The Australian fast bowler is wary of India’s bench strength ahead of a four-match Test series.
Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood is all praises for the Indian bowling attack for it was the trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma which played a significant role in India beating Australia 2-1 during their last tour in 2018-19.
“They outbowled us the last time they came. That went a long way for them in winning the series. They have most bases covered with their quicks. If Ishant Sharma gets here at some point, it will add to their strength. They are all a little bit different. For the last 10-15 years, Indian pacers have kept improving. Our batters will have to be on their toes to counter that,” Hazlewood was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
Talking specifically about that series’ joint-highest wicket-taker in Jasprit Bumrah (21 wickets at an average of 17), Hazlewood suggested his batsmen to tire the 26-year old bowler especially in the first two matches.
“[Jasprit] Bumrah is probably the standout. He is unique with his action. He maintains pace very well throughout the day, and the whole series. He is probably the key. He can take wickets upfront or with the old ball. I guess it’s about getting lot of overs into him, try to tire him out in the first couple of games. That will be the key,” Hazlewood said.
Josh Hazlewood on Virat Kohli missing three Tests in Australia
Regular India captain Virat Kohli opting to miss three Test matches in Australia to be with his wife for the birth of their first child has now invited an opinion from Hazlewood. Being asked about the impact of Kohli’s absence on the Indian batting unit, Hazlewood pointed out how other batsmen have it in them to do well in Australia.
“There are young guys coming through, players like Shubman Gill. He might get an opportunity. Hardik Pandya had a great tournament [IPL 2020] as a finisher in T20 cricket. He is one we have got eyes on. Rohit Sharma – he is a class batsman, sort of a careless guy.
“Then you have [Cheteshwar] Pujara and [Ajinkya] Rahane. The Top 30 Indian cricketers are here. We will have to try to outlast him [Pujara], I guess. He doesn’t mind waiting for the quicks to tire out. He is the old school Test batsman… once you are off that line and length, he will hurt you. It will be a challenge for us; don’t think Virat’s absence from the last three Tests will hurt them that much,” Hazlewood added.
Kohli, who will return to India after leading the team in the day-night Test match in Adelaide beginning from December 16, might well be replaced by uncapped batsman Shubman Gill. While Hardik Pandya is not part of the Test squad, one out of Lokesh Rahul or Prithvi Shaw could also get an opportunity provided they bat in the middle-order and do well in the warm-up matches before the Test series.