As per Australia spinner Nathan Lyon, his Australia and New South Wales teammate Josh Hazlewood is the best fast bowler in the world and by a considerable distance. He is further pleased that his assessment has been vindicated by the media as well. Hazlewood is currently ranked sixth in the Test bowler’s rankings with Ashes rival James Anderson leading the pack.
“I think Josh Hazlewood, in my book, is the best fast bowler in the world and by a long way,” Lyon told reporters in Brisbane before Australia’s first major pre-Test training session. “He can do anything. He’s quick, he can bowl bumpers, he can control the new ball, he can swing it in and out, he can reverse it. I haven’t seen a bowler who’s got that control in a long time. I’m happy for you to put it in the headline – he’s the best fast bowler in the world,” he went on to add.
Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins have dominated the headlines ahead of the Ashes that begins on November 23 in Brisbane and rightfully so. They are the frontline seamers for the hosts and will lead the pack when the five-match historic series begins. Starc returned to action in the Sheffield Shield from a foot fracture and looked like he was never gone. He claimed a career-best 8/73 with the pink ball against South Australia and followed it up with dual hat-tricks in the next contest against Western Australia. Cummins has also remained in the focus as he readies to play his first Test in Australia – six years after making a memorable debut against South Africa.
Hazlewood, meanwhile, has been working on a return of his own. He suffered a side strain during Australia’s drawn Test series against Bangladesh in the sub-continent and has had a single match to find form and rhythm. But he remains confident that he has enough bowling under his belt.
“I’m fairly happy,” he said on Monday. “If I showed any sort of rustiness in Hurstville (where New South Wales played Western Australia earlier this month) I definitely would have played the game up here, the third Shield game (against Queensland in Brisbane). But I hit the ground running and I was really surprised with how well I felt. The rhythm and the ball coming out really nicely (so) I ticked all the boxes in that game.”
Since the start of the Australian Test summer in November, Hazlewood has picked 41 wickets in 11 Test matches – having missed the second Test against Bangladesh – at an average of 24.54 thus highlighting his importance to the side. During this period, only Lyon has fared better – 58 wickets in 12 Test matches.