Training key as Aussies adjust to shifting schedule
Hazlewood views most obstacles in COVID climate as surmountable but consistent bowling loads appears a non-negotiable for Blues quick
20 July 2020, 06:44 PM AEST
Australia paceman Josh Hazlewood hopes any potential pre-summer quarantine period on home soil will also afford players the opportunity to train as they prepare for a Test series with Virat Kohli's India.
National selectors last week named a preliminary 26-player group for a possible white-ball tour of the UK in September, which would then mean a two-week quarantine for all players upon returning to Australia if current protocols remain in place.
For some, like Hazlewood, that return could be delayed until November if, as is widely tipped, the ICC T20 World Cup is cancelled and the Indian Premier League is instead played in that spring window.
That would in turn leave little time for some of Australia's marquee players to prepare for what is at this stage slated as a four-Test showdown with India from December 3, though speaking in Sydney today, Hazlewood seemed unfazed by the tightness of the scheduling and the problematic nature of a potential quarantine period, and nor was he concerned about the switch from white ball to red.
However, the 29-year-old suggested the absence of a two-week block of training at that point of the season could be significant.
"As long as we can train during that period, we'll be OK," he said. "It's if we come back and we can't train during that two-week period, we've built these loads up as fast bowlers, then two weeks on the sidelines really hurts us heading into a summer of Test cricket.
"That's the key, if we can get training done while in quarantine, we should be fine.
"As long as we're up and running coming off the English tour, I feel like I only need one, maximum two (first-class) games, to get ready for a Test.
"There's been summers we've come from white-ball tours and only played one and it's been fine.
"Everyone's a little bit different, (so) we'll try and get that balance right."
Hazlewood said players had been regularly kept abreast by Cricket Australia of the latest updates in what is currently a highly fluid cricket calendar, with the England versus West Indies Test series being closely monitored by all interested parties and state training going ahead as seamlessly as possible given the complications caused by the pandemic.
"We've been (training) for five or six weeks," the NSW quick said. "I kept the fitness up through the COVID lockdown period, which was mostly through boredom.
"Bowling is going really well, back to probably 85-90 per cent and a few of the guys are a bit further along.
"(The enforced break has) been good for most of the boys, especially the bowlers to come in with a clean slate.
"We've been having fortnightly updates (from Cricket Australia), and now that the 26-man squad has been picked, we'll have another chat this week.
"Things change from week to week, a few eyes are on how the West Indies are going and everything in that series seems to be going pretty well.
"We'll take a lot from that, just keep moving forward and CA are keeping us informed as much as possible.
"The next two weeks, with our tour being five or six weeks away, a few restrictions will come in, just common-sense stuff."