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Australia ‘a long way’ from knowing how it will line up in first Sri Lankan T20I

Paceman Josh Hazlewood says Australia is a “long way” from knowing how it will line up against Sri Lanka in the first T20I of its multi-format tour on June 7.

Dropped from the Test side in Pakistan, Hazlewood said he wouldn’t lose sleep if spin-friendly wickets called for him to once again ride the pine as the tour went on.

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On Friday, Aussie white-ball captain Aaron Finch said Australia was likely to start the T20 leg of the tour with three specialist quicks and a specialist spinner — Ashton Agar — in its bowling attack.

Given Pat Cummins is sitting the T20s out to rest up for the Tests and ODIs, the likes of Jhye Richardson, Sean Abbott and Kane Richardson will be sticking their hands up even higher for selection.

But Hazlewood said no decisions had yet been made as to who would get the nod for the first T20I.

“We’ll probably know more as the game gets closer,” he said.

“Sometimes the wickets look a little bit different four or five days out as opposed to the day before and day of the game.

“So that can change a lot and that can obviously dictate who you’re playing in your team. I think we’re still a long way from the XI.”

Hazlewood cemented himself as a mainstay of the Aussie T20 team last year; the reliable quick played only two T20Is between 2016 and 2020 but on the back of an outstanding 2021, he was named in the ICC’s T20I Team Of The Year.

Reflecting on his omission from the final two Tests in Pakistan though, Hazlewood said he wouldn’t take it personally if he was again dropped in favour of spinners in Sri Lanka.

“The conditions dictate the bowling line up on the subcontinent,” he said.

“After playing on that first wicket (in Pakistan), I was pretty happy I think to just sit on the side for the next two! It was quite hard work obviously for everyone.”

“I’m happy to play my role.”

Hazlewood and RCB came within one win of making the IPL Final in late May.
Camera IconHazlewood and RCB came within one win of making the IPL Final in late May. Credit: Supplied

Hazlewood only spent “a few days” at home in between his stint with the IPL’s Royal Challengers Bangalore and his flight out to Sri Lanka.

He missed a significant amount of cricket over the summer with a rib injury but Hazlewood said he was fit and firing despite the quick turnaround from the IPL.

“The body’s feeling really good,” he said.

Hazlewood rejected suggestion his time in the IPL would give him an added advantage going into the Sri Lanka tour.

“I think the wickets will be a little bit different here, they’ll probably be a bit slower and take a bit more spin,” he said.

“There was quite a bit of bounce on the IPL wickets and the pace was okay. It was good fun. We might have something different here.”

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