The good news for Queensland’s cricket team is Mitchell Starc is being rested from the NSW attack for Friday’s one-day match at Drummoyne Oval, the bad news is that he has been replaced by Josh Hazlewood.
Hazlewood, who was rested during the first four games of the Matador Cup by Cricket after his massive workload – he bowled during 50 of the 52 weeks that coincided with the end of the Ashes series – conceded he has big shoes to fill.
Starc has taken 19 wickets for the Blues at an average of six and in the process he’s enhanced his reputation as the world’s best white-ball bowler.
“The NSW boys are expecting 5-30 from me and [Queensland] might be happy that I’m playing and not Mitchell,” said Hazlewood. “It’s been good to watch how well the Blues have been bowling and you can’t help but to feel good about the line-up we have.
“It’s been great seeing everyone play their role and I just want to fit in at Drummoyne and do my thing and let the rest take care of itself.”
While the Blues’ bowling attack has spearheaded the state’s undefeated start to the tournament, Hazlewood didn’t expect the decision to rest Starc, who has been battling spurs in his ankle, to have much impact on the way the bowlers perform. “When you look at the attack you’ll see I’ve bowled with these guys a fair bit for NSW and ,” he said.
“We know each other’s roles and what we’re trying to do – I’ve played a fair bit with Sean Abbott, Guridner Sandhu and our two spinners, Nathan Lyon and Stephen O’Keefe, so hopefully I’ll fit into my role seamlessly. Sometimes you feel as though you’ve been interrupted when you come back from a rest because your body needs to get used to bowling day in, day out and getting used to the rigours of cricket.
“But I feel really good for the break, I feel a lot stronger and recovered for the time off.”
Queensland coach Phil Jaques said he’d told his players the opportunity to take on someone of Hazlewood’s calibre was a rare chance to test themselves. “He’s a really good player, he’s played a lot of international cricket and he’s fresh and ready to go,” he said.
Jaques expected Queensland’s Joe Burns, who was selected for the doomed tour of Bangladesh, to make his time at Drummoyne count. “Joe probably hasn’t made the runs he would have liked in the last couple of games but he is a terrific player, he’s already had a taste of n level and I’m sure he’s hungry to test himself against a strong NSW side,” he said.