Josh Hazlewood acknowledged India’s strength in depth and claimed that he expects a ‘class player’ to replace Virat Kohli, but asserted that his side will, nevertheless, come up with able plans for the new player. Hazlewood also expressed that Australia want to know the extent of Shami’s injury.
Virat Kohli’s only Test in the 2020/21 Border Gavaskar Trophy ended anticlimactically, with India getting bundled out for 36, but the Indian skipper only exited after giving the Aussies a mighty scare. Kohli nonchalantly raced off to 74 in tough batting conditions on Day 1, looking ominous as ever, and it had to take a tragic run-out to end his stay in the middle. He did not enjoy the same comfort in the second innings, but, nevertheless, he kept the hosts on their toes for the entirety of the three days.
Kohli’s absence in the last three Tests will undoubtedly bring relief to Australia, but Josh Hazlewood acknowledged that he expects India to draft in yet another ‘class’ player. The 29-year-old speedster, however, assured that the Aussies will have their plans in place for whoever replaces the Indian skipper at the MCG.
“Obviously, there will be a player coming in for Virat. They have quite class players on the bench, to be honest. So good players will come in and will be having plans for them no doubt," Hazlewood said during the virtual post-match press conference.
"Getting all out on 36 will leave few headaches here and there and obviously Virat leaving so there will be a hole but they have got class batters on the sidelines to come in, obviously not of Virat's class.”
That India will be without the services of Kohli is confirmed, but they might very well also be missing their ace paceman Mohammad Shami, who had to retire hurt after being struck on the arm by a snorting Pat Cummins bouncer. Hazlewood said that the Aussies are keen to know how Shami is doing but claimed that they expect the right-armer to recover and play the second Test.
"It's obviously a blow, we gonna see how bad it was. He will undergo scans to see if there is any fracture or bruising. We wanna find out how much damage is done.
"He is a class-bowler and he showed this in the game. So India might have to dig deeper in their arsenal to try and cover him but we probably expect him to play, I am not sure how bad the injury is,” Hazlewood said of Shami.
The first Test in Adelaide had its own little sub-plots and one such story was that of Joe Burns, who went into the game with scores of 10, 11, 4, 0, 0, and 1 under his belt. After finding it difficult to buy a run for two months, the Queenslander turned it around in the second innings and scripted a fairytale story by finishing the match off with a six, whilst concurrently getting to a half-century. Hazlewood sounded chuffed at Burns’ redemption and insisted that the management have always believed that he’d come good.
"For Joe Burns, I think it was a perfect scenario today chasing a low score, so it freed him up and India had set an attacking field so there were plenty of gaps, so he got on a roll and got the confidence back. We always have faith in him and we want to give him a long run as possible," said the 29-year-old.
Hazlewood, who racked up figures of 5/8 in the second innings, picked up his 200th Test wicket on Saturday.