Hazlewood hopes for Test action
Josh Hazlewood, the New South Wales fast bowler, feels ready to step up to Test level if he gets the chance this summer. Hazlewood is only 19 but has already made his one-day international debut, taking 1 for 41 against England in June, and has spent time with Craig McDermott at the Centre of Excellence during the off-season.
With 17 wickets in six first-class games, there is still a lot for him to learn, but McDermott says he has "a truckload of ability". Hazlewood, who is 196cm, is trying not to get too carried away, but can't stop thinking about the Ashes.
"The way fast bowling is, guys go down with injuries and you can jump up a few places pretty quickly," Hazlewood said in the Sunday Telegraph. "I'll get a few opportunities at the start of the Shield season to put my hand up. I'd definitely feel ready if I got a chance during the Ashes. I've worked hard in the off-season.
"The Ashes is the top of international cricket, it's in Australia this summer and to think you could be a part of it, it's pretty exciting, but you try not to think about it too much. You try not to get carried away but you can't ignore the chance might be there."
McDermott, who made his Test debut as a 19-year-old, has been impressed. "There's a tremendous future for him, but he's a big boy who has to take a lot of care with keeping his body fit," he said. "I'm not going to comment on pecking orders or selections but bowling-wise, with that pace and bounce, it's all there."
Before Hazlewood gets a chance to play for Australia he has to secure a regular spot at New South Wales, who have Brett Lee, Stuart Clark and Nathan Bracken available following their reduction in international game time. Doug Bollinger and Shane Watson will also be around for at least a couple of Sheffield Shield games early in the summer, and then there is the promising next rung of Mitchell Starc, Trent Copeland and Burt Cockley.
Brad Haddin, the New South Wales wicketkeeper, sees a place for all of them in the various competitions. "New South Wales has some great bowlers at the back-end of their careers, but on the same scale we have some young bowlers just starting out," he said in the Sun-Herald. "And what tends to happen with the younger guys is their bodies don't quite stand up to the demands of Shield, one-dayers and the other forms of cricket they need to play.
"So to have a Stuart Clark, a Brett Lee and Nathan Bracken around is great because they can feed off them for a year. They get enough information from their bowling coaches, so rather than talking to them it's more a case of learning from watching how those blokes prepare."