Josh Hazlewood has bowled over 300 overs in the 2016-17 Australian Test summer © Getty Images
Josh Hazlewood has been rested for the first of five ODIs against Pakistan at the Gabba on Friday to help “freshen” him up after a long haul playing Test cricket.
Hazlewood has bowled more than 40 overs in five out of six matches since the Australian summer began. Only three weeks ago, in Brisbane, he got through 42 overs in a single innings, the heaviest workload for an Australian quick in over a decade. His ability to maintain a strict line and length around the off stump has been vital to the success of his team, and has also resulted in tangible personal gains as well. On Sunday, Hazlewood became the top-ranked fast bowler in Test cricket. He has a week off to celebrate.
Australia’s head coach Darren Lehmann said Hazlewood would be linking up with the squad in Melbourne for the second ODI on Sunday and “if one of our other fast bowlers picks up an injury in the run-up to Friday’s first game at The Gabba then he could be called up to slot in.”
With one of the first-choice quicks on the bench, Billy Stanlake, the 22-year old fast bowler, might contemplate an ODI debut having played only four 50-over matches in domestic cricket. Speaking to reporters on Sunday, he confessed “shock” at how quickly he has broken into the national squad and even admitted to a little gaffe.
“I got a phone call, I think, Friday morning. I actually missed the first one so I had to give him a call back,” Stanlake said. “I saw it was Trevor Hohns, the head of selectors, but I wasn’t too sure what he’d be calling about so I gave him a quick call back and he told me the news which was very nice news. It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I think it’ll sink in more when we get into the camp on Tuesday.”
Billy Stanlake felt his height could make him an X-factor player © Getty Images
If Stanlake felt stunned, the rest of the world was even more so. He made his Queensland debut as recently as October 2015, but injuries have meant he has managed only two first-class and four List A matches since then. A back complaint had ruled him out of last year’s Matador Cup but he has been putting in impressive performances – six wickets at 17.83 – for Adelaide Strikers in the Big Bash League.
“It’s funny how quickly things can happen,” Stanlake said. “It was only a couple of months ago that I was returning from injury in club cricket.” He hoped to make the best use of his opportunity to spend time with the likes of Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc and work on becoming a better bowler. “I feel I’d like to feed off of everyone as best I can. They’ve all got a wealth of knowledge and being a young guy, I’ll probably get around to most of them and learn as much as I can.”
The selectors felt Stanlake’s height, which helps him extract disconcerting bounce, coupled with the ability to bowl at 140 kph could be assets and he agreed. “I think that’s probably what makes me a bit of an X-factor and probably a little bit of an unknown for the Pakistan side, they probably wouldn’t have seen me at all so that’s an upside as well.”
Chris Lynn is another man who has found his way into international cricket via the BBL. Two shoulder injuries in 2014 and 2015 forced him out of the Matador Cup both times and has therefore not played a 50-over domestic game in three years. He has represented Australia A in List A matches during this period and has been in excellent form for Brisbane Heat, with 309 runs in five matches including a top-score of 98 not out. He came into the Australian set-up with a slight issue with his neck that might hamper him while throwing the ball, but was looking forward to giving it his all.
“Just relying on my body to get me through a 50-over game and the selectors are happy where I’m at. So I’m over the moon and hopefully if I get the chance to debut in my hometown at the Gabba, it would be a pretty special moment,” Lynn said, “It’s my neck that’s giving me a bit of grief. It’s more of a nerve issue, but it won’t stop me putting on the green and gold, that’s for sure.”
“It’s not giving me an issue while batting, that’s probably the most important thing. In cricket, you can always hide one or two blokes on the field, even though that’s a bit of baggage. I do feel a little bit uncomfortable with that but they’re happy to carry me around. Push comes to shove, I’ll be diving, throwing my body around and doing everything I can to contribute for Australia.”
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo