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Hazlewood to capitalise on white-ball form

Star quick Josh Hazlewood concedes he will likely always drop out of the Test team when Australia play on spinning wickets.

After going more than four years without a Twenty20 international appearance and being snubbed for the 2019 ODI World Cup, Hazlewood is coming to terms with fighting for his spot in red-ball cricket.

The 31-year-old played just one of the three Tests in Pakistan in March and might be forced to watch on during the upcoming series in Sri Lanka.

But after an impressive Indian Premier League campaign for Royal Challengers Bangalore, Hazlewood has never been more sure of his spot in Australia’s white-ball teams.

He will be a lock for Australia’s home Test summer against the West Indies and South Africa but then it is back to India next February and March for a blockbuster four-match series.

Hazlewood admits there is healthy competition with Test captain Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc.

“I’ve obviously missed a fair bit of red-ball cricket through injury and selection so a little bit disappointing in that regard,” Hazlewood said.

“The white-ball, the T20 stuff in particular, I have gone from strength to strength.

“I guess that’s the benefit of having the three formats in this sport, if you’re struggling in one or not going particularly well in one then you can sort of rely on another one to come through and really enjoy that one.

“It’s not a rivalry (with Cummins and Starc), it’s probably healthy competition.

“We know the three of us are going to play in most conditions and then it’s probably me who’s a bit slower in the air who drops out on spinning wickets.

“I think just that blend of all three of guys being a little bit different which really helps throughout a Test series.”

Hazlewood joked he was happy to sit out the last two matches in Pakistan after Australia managed to take just four wickets on an extremely flat deck in the opener at Rawalpindi

“We’re lucky to have (allrounder) Cam Green there to cover a lot of bases and you obviously need air speed on those sort of wickets to have an impact,” he said.

Australia will face Sri Lanka in three T20s and five ODIs before the first of the two Tests, both taking place in Galle, gets underway on June 29.

The first T20 takes place on Tuesday night in Colombo, with assistant coach Michael Di Venuto filling in for Andrew McDonald, who is isolating back in Australia after catching COVID-19.

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