Royal Challengers Bangalore’s IPL 2023 preparations were thrown into disarray when it was revealed that Australia pace bowler Josh Hazlewood will be unable to compete in the tournament’s early stages.
He was unable to play in any of the four Test matches against India in February and March due to the same issue, and he also missed the three-match ODI series.
“Josh Hazlewood needs at least four to five matches before he’s fit to be a part of the XI,” an RCB source said.
But with the World Test Championship final at The Oval beginning on June 7, it won’t be surprising if Cricket Australia is extra careful about the top pace.
RCB will start their campaign Sunday (April 2) at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium against the five-time champion Mumbai Indians.
Hazlewood was a guest on a podcast discussing his most difficult fast-bowling duties as he was healing from Achilles tendinitis.
Pujara is known for his resiliency while batting. He was a key architect of India’s iconic series victory in Australia in both 2018 and 2020. The 35-year-old has played in 102 Test matches and scored more than 7,000 runs, which include 19 centuries and 35 fifty.
It’s a bigger thrill for the bowlers (to dismiss Pujara). I think when you do end up getting his wicket, it means you have earned it,” Hazlewood said on the RCB podcast on Tuesday.
“It means you’ve put in a lot of hard work. Whether it is the fifth ball he (Pujara) faces… you’ve already bowled to him in the previous Test matches, you’ve earned that respect and you’ve earned that wicket,” added Hazlewood, who was RCB’s pace spearhead during IPL 2022, taking 20 wickets.
“He’s someone I’ve had some great tussles over the years, and, in particular, in Australia. He’s someone Australians love to hate but he’s a fantastic player and I guess that is part of Test cricket. When you do get him out, you’ve earned it,” said Hazlewood.
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