Hazlewood driven by bitter Ashes memory
No surprises this time around for metronomic paceman after disappointment of last encounter against the old enemy
20 November 2017, 05:50 PM AEST
Paceman Josh Hazlewood will use this Magellan Ashes series to ease the disappointment of the one major blot on his otherwise flawless international record to date.
The right-armer's first home Ashes campaign comes two-and-a-half years after his maiden Test series against England, the 2-3 series defeat in 2015 that saw Alastair Cook's side regain the urn.
Despite being less than a year into his Test career at the time, Hazlewood's unerring accuracy and bounce had him spoken about as a potential match-winner in English conditions, much like Glenn McGrath had been during his stellar career.
But, by Hazlewood's own admission, he fell well short of expectations.
"I think I started well in the first couple of Tests and probably more so my body let me down a little bit with fatigue and things like that," he reflected on Tuesday.
"It was on the back of a big summer in Australia, my first Test series, and then there was a couple of Tests in the West Indies (before the Ashes). It was all just catching up with me at that stage.
"I'm obviously better for the run and I'm ready to go for this Ashes series.
"It does drive me, playing in that series."
While Hazlewood's return of 16 wickets at 26 in four Tests was solid, he's conceded previously that he struggled to control the unfamiliar English Dukes ball in the foreign conditions.
On Tuesday, he added the hype surrounding his first Ashes series also caught him unawares, something he vowed would not be repeated this summer.
"It's the Ashes, it's a great rivalry," he said.
"Playing one in England first, it sort of snuck up on me a little bit. I'd only played five or six Tests before that and I probably didn't realise how big a series that was until it was gone.
"This one has been a really good build-up and everyone's ready to play."
Having learnt the hard way how intimidating Ashes cricket can be, Hazlewood says Australia will look to unsettle England's inexperienced middle order over the coming weeks.
While Alastair Cook and skipper Joe Root are no strangers to Ashes cricket, the other likely members of England's top five - Mark Stoneman, James Vince and Dawid Malan - are all Ashes rookies and have played just 15 Tests between them, all on home soil.
Hazlewood says removing Cook and Root early on would leave their less experienced teammates exposed.
"It's obviously a good thing for us," he said. "Having not been to Australia, having not played Test cricket in Australia and having not played much Test cricket in general.
"A bit of pressure falls on those two senior guys (Cook and Root) so if we can get them early, it adds to those three other guys.
"(The Ashes) doesn't get any bigger and we'll certainly remind them of that throughout the series."
2017-18 International Fixtures:
Magellan Ashes Series
First Test Gabba, November 23-27. Buy tickets
Second Test Adelaide Oval, December 2-6 (Day-Night). Buy tickets
Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Buy tickets
Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Buy tickets
Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Buy tickets
Gillette ODI Series v England
First ODI MCG, January 14. Buy tickets
Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Buy tickets
Third ODI SCG, January 21. Buy tickets
Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Buy tickets
Fifth ODI Perth TBC, January 28. Join the ACF
Prime Minister's XI
PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Buy tickets
Gillette T20 INTL Series
First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Buy tickets
Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Buy tickets
Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Buy tickets
Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 13
Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16
Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18
Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21