Australian pace bowler Josh Hazlewood hopes to play the final two Tests of the ongoing Ashes series with injuries largely hampering his 2023 so far. The right-arm pacer did not partake in the Border-Gavaskar series as well as the World Test Championship (WTC) Final due to an Achilles issue and a subsequent side strain.
Hazlewood found a place in the Ashes opener at Edgbaston, Birmingham where he took three wickets. The pacer retained his place for the second Test at Lord's, before losing out to Scott Boland in the recent third Test at Headingley, Leeds.
The 32-year-old stated that he does not feel rusty while bowling and hopes to make an impression across the last two Ashes Tests, if selected. He said:
"I have felt pretty good. I was probably a little bit underdone for that World Test Championship and then got ready for the first game. I didn't seem too rusty when I was out there in the middle. Once you get that big day of workload underneath you, you feel a lot better for the run."
"I felt better and better as I was going along. Hopefully after that little break, I'll come out firing again."
Scott Boland has not been able to showcase his ability in the ongoing Ashes so far and he could find himself out of the playing XI for the upcoming fourth Test, with the likes of Hazlewood and the in-form Michael Neser proving to be able replacements.
"Missing Headingley, the reason was probably to set me up for the last two games" - Josh Hazlewood
Josh Hazlewood was part of the playing XI when Australia retained the Ashes at Old Trafford, Manchester in 2019. He claimed six wickets across both innings as the visitors won by 185 runs.
Hazlewood opined that dropping him for the third Test may have been a ploy to unleash him for the final two Tests. He said:
"Missing Headingley, the reason was probably to set me up for the last two games. I know they're back-to-back but we haven't bowled a lot of overs. Hopefully with that work behind me now, I'm in a better position than I was a month ago."
"That sort of puts me in a good place to hopefully get through those last two games and and play my role and do what I usually do."
The fourth Ashes Test is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, July 19, at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground in Manchester. Australia currently hold a 2-1 series lead and are one win away from attaining their first red-ball series win in England since 2001.