Hazlewood fires Test warning: ‘My best is yet to come’
JOSH Hazlewood insists he can improve on a 'dream', career-best return for New South Wales having buried the gremlins that cost him pace, fitness and a pre-Ashes Test spot.
Hazlewood picked up where he left off in a stellar 20-wicket Ashes campaign taking 6/35 as the Blues rolled South Australia by 96 runs at Adelaide Oval.
"It is a bowlers dream to go out and take wickets on the last day," said Hazlewood, fronting in his opening first-class game of the season.
Stream over 50 sports live and on-demand with KAYO SPORTS on your TV, computer, mobile or tablet. Just $25/month, no lock-in contract. Get your 14-day free trial and start streaming instantly >
"As a group to bowl a side out, it wasn't doing much out there, was good hard work. To get three from three for New South Wales is off to a flyer.
"First innings was a little bit rusty, didn't quite hit my lengths as well as I usually do. It was good to get over 40 overs for the game so I got better and bowled the best on the final day."
Back stress fractures sidelined Hazlewood from Australia's Test series triumph against Sri Lanka last February then the 2019 World Cup in England.
Hazlewood had struggled in eight prior Tests against South Africa and India for 25 wickets at 34.7. Hazlewood revealed his stress fractures and deteriorating form were caused by an action change against England left-handers Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, Dawid Malan and Moeen Ali in the 2017-18 Ashes.
"I made a few changes action wise. I got into bad habits bowling to England here when they had a lot of left-handers. I kept falling away and getting worse and worse and got a little bit more lateral flex than I would like," said Hazlewood, overlooked for the Birmingham 2019 Ashes opener.
"That was the cause of the two stress fractures and wasn't getting all my momentum going to the target."
Former New Zealand allrounder turned Blues bowling mentor Andre Adams resurrected Hazlewood's action while generating extra pace which proved vital for Australia in retaining the Ashes.
"I did some work on that with Andre before the Ashes and getting everything back in line and getting the benefits now, using all my energy and getting more on the ball and feeling good," said Hazlewood.
Hazlewood should pass 50 Tests and 200 wickets for Australia in dual series against Pakistan and New Zealand but refused to look past the Blues' Shield clash against Western Australia starting in Sydney on Monday.
"I never look to far ahead that is when cricket bites you," said Hazlewood with 184 wickets in 48 Tests.
"There is still a fair bit of time to go before the Test."
Redbacks skipper Travis Head's first innings ton, 109, impressed Hazlewood - showing all the gumption required for a first Test recall against Pakistan at the Gabba.
"It was a great hundred. He batted really well in the first innings. Make the bowlers work for you, tire them out and cash in at the end of the day which is what he did," he said.