It has been amazing to see Josh Hazlewood’s evolution as T20 bowler: Shane Watson

Hazlewood has emerged as Australia's best T20I pacer in the year gone by.

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Josh Hazlewood and Shane Watson
Josh Hazlewood and Shane Watson (Photo Source: Twitter)

Former all-rounder Shane Watson has heaped praises on Australia’s frontline pacer Josh Hazlewood and gone on to say that the latter’s emergence as a T20 bowler has completely taken him by surprise. At the same time, Watson also reckons that the tall speedster must now be considered Australia’s best fast bowler in the shortest format.

Hazlewood had made his T20I debut way back in 2013, but mostly remained in and out of the side in this format and was only in the scheme of things for Tests and One Day Internationals. However, consistent performances in the last year including two IPL seasons and playing an integral role in Australia’s first and only T20 World Cup triumph in the UAE have made Hazlewood one of the stunning bowlers in T20s.

I always thought Josh Hazlewood was just a Test and one-day bowler: Shane Watson

“It has been amazing to see Josh Hazlewood’s evolution as a T20 bowler,” Watson told Isa Guha on the latest episode of The ICC Review.

“I always thought he was just a Test and one-day bowler because he didn’t have that many defensive options in T20 cricket, but he has developed tremendously over the past couple of years,” he added.

“And right now he is Australia’s best T20 fast bowler, there is no question,” said the veteran all-rounder.

Hazlewood was the joint fourth-highest wicket-taker of the T20 World Cup 2021 as he finished with 11 wickets. He had gone into that showpiece event after a remarkable performance in the preceding IPL 2021 where he registered 11 wickets from nine matches and played an instrumental role in CSK’s fourth title triumph.

The Aussie pacer also went on to have an outstanding IPL 2022 for Royal Challengers Bangalore. In fact, he was their most consistent pacer as he registered 20 scalps to his name from the 12 games that he got to feature in. RCB did succeed in breaking the Eliminator jinx after two unsuccessful attempts in the 2020 and 2021 editions, but could not go the distance as their campaign ended after a seven-wicket loss to the eventual runners-up Rajasthan Royals in Qualifier 2.

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