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He was the standout: Josh Hazlewood picks India batsman as toughest he has bowled to – cricket


Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood has bowled against the likes of Virat Kohli, Joe Root, Kane Williamson and AB de Villiers. While agreeing that bowling against all of them was tough, Cheteshwar Pujara’s names was the first to be taken by the Australia pacer when asked about the toughest battle of his career.

“There’s been a few over the years. Obviously, Pujara couple of summers ago was quite tough work. He had a really good series, and probably was the standout batsmen from both sides so he was really hard work,” Hazlewood told WION.

The right-arm pacer was talking about the four-match series against India in 2018-19 where Pujara was adjudged Player of the Series for his 521 runs in four Tests including three centuries. Barring the second Test match at the Optus Stadium in Perth, Pujara scored centuries in all matches of that series, playing a significant role in India’s historic 2-1 series win.

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Hazlewood, who has represented Australia 51 Tests and 48 ODIs picking up 195 and 78 wickets respectively, also talked about his duals against Kohli, Williamson, Root and de Villiers.

“There’s always that group we talk about – Virat Kohli, Joe Root and Kane Williamson along with Stevie (Smith). That group is always the key wicket for each team. AB de Villiers was always a tough battle, pretty happy he has retired from international cricket (laughs). So different team has different players and it is ultimately about adapting to each team,” said Hazlewood.

Asked about his plans to dismiss Pujara in upcoming series against India later this year, Hazlewood said they would focus on all six batsmen instead of just India’s No.3.

“Nothing yet(plans to dismiss Pujara). We need to have a few team meetings, bowlers meeting to come up with something. Because obviously, he is a key along with Virat and a few other guys. But if you focus too much on a player then others can hurt you. So the top 6 is always important.”

Hazlewood termed the upcoming series against India equivalent to Ashes because of the interest it generates in both countries.

“Obviously we have got Steve (Smith) and David (Warner) back and Marnus (Labuschagne) has come leaps and bounds. The bowling attack is similar to what it was but it is the batting which now has a lot more depth and experiences from the last time India toured. India’s bowling attack got us last time and that is what we don’t like to happen on our home soil. So we want to get India in that department. But as you said, everyone is going to watch this series. It has almost reach the point where it has reached point like the Ashes now. It is a huge series for both teams and we need to give a payback to India after last time,” Hazlewood added.


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