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'Where do you fit him in?' - Hazlewood says Fraser-McGurk's time will come

Hazlewood says he's in good shape for the World Cup despite missing the IPL after staying at home for the birth of his son

Alex Malcolm
Alex Malcolm
Jake Fraser-McGurk walks out to open on debut, Australia vs West Indies, 2nd ODI, Sydney, February 04, 2024

Jake Fraser-McGurk walks out to open on ODI debut  •  Cricket Australia/Getty Images

Australia veteran Josh Hazlewood believes Jake Fraser-McGurk's time will come in Australian colours but lamented that there was no room for either him or Steven Smith in Australia's 15-member T20 World Cup squad, admitting that Smith's leadership and experience will be sorely missed in the Caribbean.
Australia's selectors caused a stir last week when they left both Fraser-McGurk and Smith out of Australia's squad. There was a strong response from the Australian public who were frustrated that the 22-year-old T20 phenom had been shunned despite his breathtaking IPL form.
Hazlewood was among a group of Australia's non-IPL squad members, including injured skipper Mitchell Marsh, that gathered in Brisbane on Monday for the first of two three-day camps over the next two weeks in preparation for the T20 World Cup.
He said Fraser-McGurk was a special talent but had sympathy for the Australian selectors given the depth within the squad.
"The way he goes about it is quite special, just the ball striking," Hazlewood said.
"Where do you fit him in? It's so tough to fit into that top order with what we've got there with experience with Travis [Head], Mitch [Marsh] and Davey [Warner] in the top three, and then the middle order's pretty good as well.
"He'll definitely get his time. He's only young. He'll be in the team sooner rather than later, I think."
Hazlewood said Smith was unlucky to miss out too given his batting skills in spinning conditions and his leadership experience.
"Probably someone like Marshy will miss him being captain and just having another player on the field like Smudge [Smith] who you can just turn to at any time and get his advice," Hazlewood said.
"Obviously his batting and fielding as well. The conditions potentially could have suited his game and it's always like picking up the pieces from a bad start is his job, but I think the way we've seen him bat for the Sixers [in the BBL], there's a spot at the top as well, but again, you just can't squeeze everyone in."
Hazlewood has been absent from the IPL this year having been a highly sought-after bowler in recent years. He was not picked up at the auction as he had restricted availability because he wanted to be home for the birth of his son during the early part of the tournament. He had kept bowling during his time at home in the hope he might be picked up as an injury replacement in the IPL but an opportunity never presented.
But he has quietly been pleased to miss the carnage that bowlers have faced in the IPL and is not a fan of the Impact Player rule.
"Batting line-ups seem to be never-ending now, I'm not sure it's a great rule," Hazlewood said.
"You've got guys like Tim David at number eight, sometimes number nine, and it just sort of seems never-ending and you don't really feel like to attack and try and get wickets in the powerplay because what's the point when you got those guys coming in at those eight and nine spots.
"It's an interesting rule. Obviously, the crowd loves it. There are 200-plus scores every night and it's good for batters but might need a bit of tinkering."

Alex Malcolm is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo