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No Hazlewood proof of Australia's healthy T20 bowling stocks - Cummins

Pat Cummins is congratulated by Mitchell Starc for a wicket AFP

Pat Cummins believes Australia's T20 fast bowling stocks are in good health heading into a home World Cup later this year, given the selectors can afford to leave a bowler like Josh Hazlewood out of the current T20 squad.

Hazlewood was selected for the three-match ODI series on Australia's tour of South Africa but has been left out of the T20 squad for the preceding three-match series which begins in Johannesburg on Friday. Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Jhye Richardson, and Sean Abbott have been preferred as Australia continue to search for the best combination ahead of October's T20 World Cup.

Hazlewood has been starved of opportunities at T20I level. He did not play a single T20I between March 2016 and January 2020 due to Test and ODI duties, and has not been considered for Australia's T20 squad as a result. But in five BBL games this season, he helped the Sydney Sixers win the title claiming five wickets, including three in the finals series, at a frugal economy rate of just 6.22.

"It's one of the hard things," Cummins said. "He's a gun ODI and Test player, he hasn't had much of a chance to play Big Bash or international T20 cricket. So it's hard to actually know how good they are until they go back to the BBL and you see he shows his class there. The good thing is he, plus a number of bowlers, have done well for Australia or in the Big Bash so the fast bowling stocks are looking pretty good."

Cummins believes both Sean Abbott and Jhye Richardson deserve their spots in the squad after their performances in the BBL.

"Especially someone like Sean," Cummins said. "The way he has bowled over the last three or four [BBL editions], he's been just phenomenal. He's a really experienced guy. It's great seeing those guys who have dominated the domestic level jump up and you know they've got a game plan already sorted.

"And for Jhye, [I'm] so happy for him. This time 12 months ago he was on the verge of a World Cup and Ashes series and, unfortunately, he suffered that big [shoulder] injury. So he's done the long route back into the Aussie side and absolutely deserved his spot back here.

"This time around it feels like we've got lots of experience, lots of guys that have been around for a while. That might be the good thing about having so much domestic T20 cricket - even the guys who are on the fringe coming in, you know they've played a lot and have got a lot of experience. There's a lot of confidence around the squad, hopefully, it transfers into a couple of wins."

Australia haven't played a T20 international since November and will run into a South Africa side that is coming out of an incredibly competitive series against England.

Much has been made of the fact this is Australia's first tour back to South Africa since the ball-tampering scandal in 2018.

Cummins said the team is prepared to cop some pressure from the South Africa crowds, but he said the team will be well prepared for it as they were in England during the World Cup and the Ashes last year.

"It's weird that's it's been two years [since the ball-tampering saga]," Cummins said. "It feels like not that long ago that we were back in this hotel.

"We've played a lot of cricket since that time and have played South Africa at the World Cup. I'm sure we'll cop a little bit from the fans but it's nothing we haven't copped before.

"We'll probably give it a mention [in team meetings], like we did before the Ashes and World Cup. It's just about identifying it and having a bit of awareness so people can be prepared for it.

"But the guys, most of us, who will probably cop it have been playing for a little while now so it's not something we haven't seen before.

"We saw Davey [Warner] dominate the World Cup and Steve [Smith] dominate the Ashes with plenty of the crowds against them, so I'm sure it won't be a problem."