- Nasima Akter
Hazlewood Impresses Fans In Ashes Comeback
Australian fast bowler Josh Hazlewood made his long-awaited return to cricket after four months out due to injury, helping the Royal Challengers Bangalore to a victory over the Lucknow Super Giants in a low-scoring match.
Hazlewood sustained a foot injury during the Sydney Test match in January, and the team determined he needed to be fit for the upcoming Test Championship final and the Ashes, which led to him missing the Border-Gavaskar series in India.
Hazlewood made an impressive comeback by taking 2-15 in three overs and helped his team defend a low total of 127 runs. The match was a contrast to recent high-scoring games, including the Mumbai Indians' victory where Australian Tim David helped chase a record total on the ground.
Lucknow managed only 108, falling short by 18 runs. Cricket Australia's team would have been thrilled to see Hazlewood back out on the field after his injury and ahead of Australia's biggest two months of cricket in 2023.
Hazlewood played a crucial role in the power play and during the 'death overs,' showcasing his effectiveness with the ball. "The body was feeling pretty good. It was nice to have a hit-out. It's just so different playing in a game, compared to training," Hazlewood said in his post-match press conference. He also added that the match was a stepping stone for him, and he hoped to pull up well the next day.
The fast bowler has been a vital member of the Australian cricket team, taking 20 wickets at an average of 21.85 in four Tests during the last Ashes tour in 2019. However, he has played only 11 of Australia's subsequent 28 Tests due to muscular ailments.
Hazlewood remains a significant threat with the ball, picking up 28 wickets at an average of 22.26 when he has played. His inclusion in the team for the upcoming Ashes series is essential, especially after Ben Stokes' recent admission that he has called for 'flat and quick' wickets during the Ashes to help the team's aggressive approach. Hazlewood's accuracy and ability to take crucial wickets will be vital for Australia's chances of winning the series.
Fans were delighted to see Hazlewood back on the pitch, showcasing his talent once again. He also praised the pitch, which gave the initiative back to the bowlers after some high-scoring games in this year's tournament. The fast bowler stated that it was good to have an occasional pitch for the bowlers in a low-scoring affair.
During the match, opener and captain of the Lucknow Super Giants, KL Rahul, had to bat last due to injury. He faced only three balls without scoring, and his injury will be a concern for India ahead of the World Test Championship. Pandya, the coach of the Lucknow Super Giants, stated that it was a sad thing, and the medical team would assess Rahul's injury.
Hazlewood's return to cricket after his injury was a significant boost for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, and his impressive performance indicated that he was ready to compete in the upcoming Test Championship final and the Ashes. Hazlewood's accuracy and ability to take crucial wickets make him an essential member of the Australian cricket team, and his inclusion in the team will be vital for Australia's chances of winning the series. Fans were thrilled to see the fast bowler back on the pitch and showcasing his talent once again.