Cricket 2 years ago

No rest for stronger Josh Hazlewood

  • No rest for stronger Josh Hazlewood

    West Indies batsman Denesh Ramdin is clean bowled off Australian bowler Josh Hazlewood (R) during the final match of the Tri-nation Series between Australia and West Indies in Bridgetown on June 26, 2016. / AFP / Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Since making his international debut at age 19, Josh Hazlewood has been compared to Glenn McGrath for a multitude of reasons.

The economical pacemen were both raised in regional NSW, while they share an uncomplicated approach to the crease, cricket and life.

Now Hazlewood is in the process of adding another attribute to the list: durability.

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McGrath played 124 Tests and 250 ODIs in his career, undergoing ankle surgery in 2004 but avoiding most of the niggles and serious injuries that so many fast bowlers suffer.

Hazlewood's development was stalled by stress fractures in his back and foot, while he battled a shin niggle in the 2015 Ashes.

But the 25-year-old is now fit as a fiddle and reaping the benefits of skipping the past two Indian Premier League seasons.

Hazlewood was named man of the series in the West Indies earlier this week.

The 25-year-old snared five wickets in the final and notably was the only Australian bowler to feature in all seven of their games during the tournament.

Hazlewood, who has long spoken of his desire not to be rested, was also the only Australian paceman to play all six Tests at home in 2015-16.

"Josh is getting better and better every day. He's getting a lot more comfortable in his body," skipper Steve Smith said.

"He's been on the park for a significant amount of time now. He's very comfortable in that regard.

"I'm really pleased for him to win man of the series.

"He's been great since he started playing for Australia and he's only going to continue to improve the more he plays."

Hazlewood opted against taking part in the IPL auction this year, instead taking a break then focusing on strength and fitness training.

"Bowling fast is pretty taxing on the body, putting all that weight through your front foot," Smith said.

"For him to have a bit of rest and do some strength stuff, it's been very beneficial."

Hazlewood will now set his mind on the three-Test series in Sri Lanka that starts on July 26.

It will be the beanpole's first Test tour on the subcontinent.

"So it'll be a bit of an eye-opener I guess," he said earlier this month.

"But I've played a lot of limited-overs cricket on those wickets.

"It (reverse-swing) is going to be a big key for the quicks in Sri Lanka."

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