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Hazlewood's IPL stints a huge plus for Australia going into T20 World Cup this year: Finch

Melbourne, July 8 (IANS) Australia captain Aaron Finch feels pace bowler Josh Hazlewood’s grounding in the Indian Premier League (IPL) will help the quick excel in the ICC T20 World Cup scheduled to commence in 100 days’ time Down Under.

Finch also added that spin will play a big role in deciding which team wins the prestigious trophy, given that batters will have to clear long boundaries on big Australian grounds.

Australia have relied upon the tall 31-year-old Hazlewood to keep the scoring rate low at the backend of an innings. The pacer now occupies the top spot on the ICC T20 bowler rankings.

After a couple of seasons for Chennai Super Kings, Hazlewood was bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore in the mega auction and he played a key role in the franchise’s superb run this season, taking 20 wickets in 12 games.

“He has always had the skill,” said Finch. “For such a long time his focus was just on Test cricket and he didn’t have a proper block of training to concentrate on T20 cricket. I think he got that in the lead-up to the last (T20) World Cup, while playing all 14 games for Chennai (Super Kings) plus a couple of finals in the IPL (also helped).”

Hazlewood played nine games and took 11 wickets in CSK’s IPL 2021 title-winning run in the UAE.

“His ability to upskill so quickly is not a surprise as he is highly skilled. How consistent he is and how efficient in all conditions has been remarkable, but not surprising,” added Finch, indicating the bowler will play a pivotal role in Australia’s title-defending campaign at home.

Finch also expects spin to play a major role in deciding who reigns supreme in the mega-event. Spin was pivotal in helping Australia claim the T20 World Cup in Dubai last year, with leg-spinner Adam Zampa finishing as the joint second-highest wicket-taker with 13 scalps from seven matches.

“Spin is always going to have an impact in T20 cricket especially on bigger grounds in Australia,” Finch said as part of the celebrations to mark 100 days until the commencement of the T20 World Cup 2022.

“Here you have got to hit it a way to get it to the boundary so I think spin will play a big part, especially in the middle overs. Wickets in middle overs are going to be crucial as well. All the stats suggest, if you are two down going into the final five overs it doesn’t matter who is bowling. You could have the best (bowler) of all time they are still going to cop some pain,” opined Finch.

–IANS

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