Australian captain Aaron Finch has admitted that pacer Josh Hazlewood’s experience of playing for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the IPL in 2021 had a significant impact on the team’s fortunes in the T20 World Cup 2021.
Hazlewood was the standout performer for Australia with the ball in the T20 World Cup 2021 final against New Zealand, registering brilliant figures of 3 for 16. Earlier, the medium-pacer was also a key component in CSK’s IPL 2021 triumph, claiming 11 scalps in nine games.
At a post-match conference, Finch said that Hazlewood shared his experience of playing for CSK with the Australian team, which immensely benefitted the side. Responding to a Sportskeeda query in this regard, Finch said:
“He (Hazlewood) was really important to our bowling group. To be able to share his experience at CSK was really important – the lengths to bowl, particularly at the end of the tournament, where the wickets start to get a little bit more worn and hard lengths, which is Josh’s speciality, was tough to hit. And it was really important that he passed on that information.”
Finch further revealed that Hazlewood forced his way into the playing XI ahead of Kane Richardson on the back of his impressive bowling efforts in the IPL. The Australian captain added:
“Honestly, his performances in the IPL probably forced his way into the starting XI over Kane Richardson, who is a wonderful T20 bowler and someone who has been so important for us. But yeah, that was a tough call.”
Hazlewood ended his T20 World Cup 2021 campaign with 11 wickets in seven matches at a strike rate of 13 and an economy rate of 7.29.
“To be mentally fresh was really important” – Aaron Finch
Heading into the T20 World Cup 2021, many critics felt Australia did not stand a great chance to win because their T20 players hadn’t played together for a while. Some even rested, skipping tours of Bangladesh and West Indies in the process.
Asked if staying away from the bubble life actually helped the players remain fresh, Finch nodded in agreement. He elaborated in this regard:
“Yeah I think so. The guys’ preparation for the tournament were at different stages. Some were at the IPL; some were playing for state teams; some were rehabbing and coming off injuries. I think that played a part as well. To be mentally fresh towards the back end of the tournament, physically fresh as well, it was a really important part.”
ALSO READArticle Continues below
Finch was dismissed for 5 in the T20 World Cup 2021 final. However, sparkling half-centuries from Mitchell Marsh and David Warner lifted Australia to victory in a chase of 173.