"The intensity he trains at all the time is at such a high level" - Josh Hazlewood hails RCB teammate Virat Kohli ahead of WTC final

Kohli and Hazlewood played only three games together this IPL season
Kohli and Hazlewood played only three games together this IPL season

Australian pacer Josh Hazlewood opened up about his Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) teammate Virat Kohli and the qualities that make the former Indian skipper successful.

Hazlewood from New South Wales has been part of the RCB setup over the last two years alongside Virat Kohli, and the duo has played 15 matches together in that span.

Speaking to the ICC ahead of the World Test Championship (WTC) final at the Oval on June 7, the 32-year-old said:

"I think it’s probably how hard he works (that stands out). His fitness first of all - and then his skill work and batting and fielding in particular. He is always out there (training) first and leaves last … and the intensity he trains at all the time is at such a high level it drags everyone else along for the ride. That can leak on to the other players and improve them as well."

Hazlewood played in only three of the 14 matches for RCB this season due to an Achilles injury. The injury also kept him out of the recently concluded Border Gavaskar Trophy, which India won 2-1.

Hazlewood and Kohli are likely to go head-to-head in the WTC final, with the Aussie pacer back in the squad and regaining full fitness.

They have gone back and forth over the years, with Hazlewood dismissing Kohli on three occasions despite the former RCB skipper averaging a healthy 55.70 against the Aussie pacer.

Kohli had an impressive IPL season, scoring 639 runs at an average of 53.25 and a strike rate of 139.82. He finished fourth on the Orange Cap list and finished the season with back-to-back centuries against the SunRisers Hyderabad and the Gujarat Titans.

"He is up there at the top of the wickets every time" - Josh Hazlewood on RCB teammate Mohammed Siraj

Josh Hazlewood also hailed RCB spearhead Mohammed Siraj for his excellent bowling despite playing at the placid Chinnaswamy track ahead of the India-Australia clash in the WTC final.

Siraj had another impressive IPL season, picking up 19 wickets in 14 games at an average of 19.74 and an economy rate of 7.50 runs per over.

Speaking to the ICC about Siraj, Hazlewood said:

"I was a bit late getting there (to RCB this year), but before then he was on fire. He is up there at the top of the wickets every time, and the economy rate was probably the thing as bowling at Chinnaswamy (RCB’s home ground) is impossible sometimes and he was going at six or six-and-a-half an over. His control was great and he is bowling well."

Despite RCB missing out on playoff qualification, Siraj was consistently impressive throughout the season and finished in the top ten of the Purple Cap list. The Hyderabad pacer has been a revelation since debuting in Test cricket for Team India in 2020, picking up 47 wickets in 18 games.

Siraj also enjoys a terrific record in England with 18 wickets in five games, and Rohit Sharma's men will hope for the 29-year-old to deliver the goods in the WTC final at the Oval.

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Edited by Anirudh
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