The Roar
The Roar


Ashes Scout: Hazlewood hopeful, Cummins delivers blunt response to Bazball, Murphy follows Ashwin's lead

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
31st May, 2023
1543 Reads

Forgotten quick Josh Hazlewood is close to bowling at full pace and is increasingly confident he will be fit for Australia’s World Test Championship final.

Despite leaving the Indian Premier League early due to a side issue, the 32-year-old was included in Australia’s 15-man squad to face India at The Oval.

Hazlewood is ramping up his bowling loads at training and could surge into the XI for the WTC decider, starting on June 7.

“My fitness is pretty good and it is just a matter of ticking off every session from here,” Hazlewood told the ICC website.

“We will probably have anywhere from three to four more sessions – bat versus ball and then a couple of longer days in the nets as well or centre wicket down in London – so it is just ticking off those last few boxes and pulling up well from every session.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 04: Pat Cummins of Australia congradulates Josh Hazlewood of Australia aftrer taking his wicket during day five of the First Test match between Australia and the West Indies at Optus Stadium on December 04, 2022 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by James Worsfold/Getty Images)

(Photo by James Worsfold/Getty Images)

“It was pretty close (to full pace in Tuesday’s session). 

“I came down for a little bowl (on Monday) just to loosen up and to get a bit more out of today’s session, so it is feeling good.”


Hazlewood has struggled for consistent time on the field and has been limited to four Tests for Australia since December 2021.

He did not play during Australia’s four-Test tour of India in February and March, with his last five-day match coming against South Africa at the SCG in January. Hazlewood is in the squad alongside fellow quicks Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Scott Boland.

Australia went in with just one recognised fast bowler in three of the four Tests in India, but will rely heavily on pace during the WTC final and the upcoming Ashes.

Cummins delivers blunt Bazball response

Australia captain Pat Cummins has put a lid on calls for his team to match Bazball with fire by declaring they would not deviate from their playing style in the Ashes.

One year to the day since the dawn of England’s new era under coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes, the touring skipper rejected calls for Australia to match the home side’s high-octane game plan.

“We’ve had a lot of success in the last couple of years playing our way,” Cummins said in an interview with The Times


“Our team is very experienced and most of the guys know their own games really well. I don’t think we need to change our style, some players are really aggressive, some are happy to build an innings and I don’t think much will change this series.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - AUGUST 03: Pat Cummins of Australia celebrates taking the wicket of Ben Stokes of England during day three of the First Ashes test match at Edgbaston on August 3, 2019 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

Pat Cummins and Ben Stokes will lead their teams into battle for the 2023 Ashes. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

“We’ve all played enough to know what works and what doesn’t and I don’t think you need to overcomplicate things. You can get into the minutiae of data and planning but the top of off stump is a pretty good place to bowl.”

Cummins said he planned to play all six Tests of their UK campaign, starting with next week’s World Test Championship final against India at The Oval before the five-match Ashes series.

He is relaxed about their limited red-ball build-up to the tour. The team played golf on the weekend as a bonding exercise before a mini camp to brush up on their skills before the clash with India. 

“It’s busy,” Cummins said. “In 2019 we had the World Cup and then went straight into five Tests here and I remember being pretty tired by the last one. 

“But that’s part of the reason why I’ve taken the last couple of months off. There are two gaps of just over a week between Tests, so we’ll just make sure we use them as well as we can. And like most Ashes series, you feel like you need over 15 players for five Tests.”


Cummins is not worried about only having four fast bowlers in the touring party, pointing to Michael Neser and Sean Abbott being in good form on the county circuit as back-up options.

Murphy adds Indian flavour to repertoire

Todd Murphy wants to add a Ravichandran Ashwin-style carrom ball to his repertoire but he says nailing his stock delivery is the key ahead of the upcoming Ashes series.

The 22-year-old is in England as Australia prepares for the upcoming World Test Championship final against India, before the five-Test Ashes series.

Murphy impressed in four Tests in India with 14 wickets at an average of 25.51.

It was also an opportunity to analyse Indian maestro Ashwin in action, and in particular his ability to bowl the carrom ball which can spin either way or go straight on.


“I am still working on that but I am still a long way off being able to do it the way Ravi Ashwin can,” Murphy told AAP.

“It is simple in a way, and yet so difficult. It is just about being confident that you can execute it but I’d love to be able to add that myself one day. 

NAGPUR, INDIA - FEBRUARY 11: Todd Murphy of Australia celebrates taking the wicket of Ravindra Jadeja of India during day three of the First Test match in the series between India and Australia at Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground on February 11, 2023 in Nagpur, India. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Todd Murphy celebrates taking the wicket of Ravindra Jadeja. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

“If you have a delivery that goes the other way it just poses different challenges for the batsmen.

“You are always looking at ways to tinker and add things to your kitbag but in Test cricket you have to make sure your fundamentals are really good and your stock ball is in as good a position as you can.”

While on the India tour, Murphy would watch video of Ashwin closely and freeze frame the point of delivery to understand the intricacies of the craft.

“That is the best part of the analysis now that you have access to that the whole time,” Murphy said.


“I was really interested in watching that sort of stuff and get a close-up look of his hand and wrist position, just to see how each ball was coming out and if it was behaving differently.

“In those conditions his skillsets are as good as anyone and it was amazing to just watch the subtle variations he is able to implement in sequencing throughout his overs.”

Nathan Lyon is Australia’s first-choice spinner and Murphy is not sure how many Tests – if any – he will get to play on tour.

“Obviously at the moment Gaz (Lyon) is there and has been so good for so long. In a way I hope I don’t have to play a game on this tour because that means he is staying fit and on the park and our quicks are standing up as well,” Murphy said.

“It is a squad mentality. Hopefully I can add value to the squad, train hard and keep developing my skillset. If there is an opportunity that arises I have to make sure I am in a really good position to take it.

“I’ve got to be ready at all times. A lot of things can change and they can change fast.”

England give uncapped seamer a lash


Josh Tongue will make his Test debut when England take on Ireland at Lord’s this week.

The Worcestershire seamer, who has taken 11 county championship wickets this season including that of Australia star Steve Smith in his side’s draw with Sussex, was named in the squad on Tuesday after injuries to James Anderson, Ollie Robinson, Jofra Archer and Olly Stone.

“It’s an amazing feeling. Speechless really, even from when I got the first call-up to be in the squad. Now being in the actual team, it’s just a dream come true really,” said the 25-year-old.

“Baz (coach Brendon McCullum) came up to me just before training finished today and gave me the good news. I bowled at some of the lads on Monday, I felt like I bowled nicely and obviously I must have bowled fairly well to get selected.”

Tongue will feature in a three-pronged seam attack with Stuart Broad and Matthew Potts for the four-day match which starts on Thursday.

Jonny Bairstow makes his first international appearance since last August after a long-term ankle injury and will keep wicket.


Bairstow is listed to bat at seven, with Yorkshire colleague Harry Brook keeping his place at number five after four centuries in five Tests against Pakistan and New Zealand over the winter.

They are separated in the provisional order by captain Ben Stokes, while Ben Duckett and Zak Crawley will open the batting, with vice-captain Ollie Pope at number three and Joe Root at four.

The match is England’s last before this summer’s Ashes series but Tongue, Worcestershire’s first England international since Moeen Ali, said: “I’m the sort of person to stay in the present. 

“Whatever game I play in I just try and perform and do as much as I can for the team to win a game of cricket so I’m not really thinking about the Ashes as such at the minute.

“I’m just thankful to all those who have helped me on my journey. It’s going to be a very emotional day for my dad. He’s that sort of character.”

Woakes back in frame as injuries pile up


Chris Woakes has pointed to misfortune suffered by the injured pair Jofra Archer and Olly Stone as one of the reasons he finds himself in contention for Ashes selection.

Archer was ruled out of contention with a stress fracture to his elbow sustained playing for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League, while Stone will miss at least the first Test with a hamstring injury.

Woakes had himself missed over a year of first-class cricket following knee surgery before returning to play for Warwickshire earlier in the summer.

But the 34-year-old has been recalled to Brendon McCullum’s England squad for the match against Ireland at Lord’s which begins on Thursday – but has missed the final XI for what would have been his first home Test appearance since he featured against the West Indies in June 2020.

“If you’d have asked me a month or two ago whether I’d even be in this squad – probably not, really,” said Woakes.

Marnus Labuschagne of Australia smiles at Chris Woakes of England during day one of the Fifth Test in the Ashes series between Australia and England at Blundstone Arena on January 14, 2022 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Matt Roberts - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

(Photo by Matt Roberts – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

“Looking at the pool of fast bowlers that were available, you stick Jofra and Olly Stone in the mix as well, I might not have been. Their misfortune means I’m here.


“But that’s the game, isn’t it? Injuries happen and things do change quite quickly.

“All part of my prep this summer was to miss IPL, play some county cricket for Warwickshire and try and get myself in the space where, if I was to get the call, then I’m ready. Thankfully it’s worked out nicely for myself.”

Ashes countdown: Days to go …


The Ashes bowling average of fast bowler Charles Turner (16.53 to be exact), who was known as the “Terror” and took 101 wickets for Australia from 1887-95 in just 17 Tests.

On This Day … 


May 31 – the home of cricket, Lord’s hosted its maiden first-class match at its St John’s Wood venue in 1815 which is now an increasingly modern sports stadium. Thomas Lord played for the Middlesex side which scored 89, dismissed the MCC for 31, then replied with 24 before the MCC fell 17 runs of their victory target of 83. Let’s hope there’s a few more runs at Lord’s next month.