Josh Hazlewood, having shared the field with Virat Kohli more often as a teammate than as an opponent in recent times, sheds light on what sets the Indian star apart in his craft as the World Test Championship Final approaches.
During his two-year stint alongside Kohli at Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the IPL, the experienced Australian fast bowler has witnessed firsthand why the Indian maestro is consistently regarded as one of the finest batsmen in international cricket. While Hazlewood, if selected, will be determined to dismiss Kohli and lead Australia to victory in the final, he has closely observed the Indian icon over the past two years, attempting to decipher the reasons for his brilliance.
According to Hazlewood, it is Kohli’s unwavering work ethic that distinguishes him from the rest and enables him to remain one of the most coveted wickets in Test cricket. “I think it’s probably how hard he works (that stands out),” Hazlewood shared with the ICC.
“First of all, his fitness – and then his dedication to skill work, batting, and fielding in particular. He is always the first one out there (training) and the last one to leave… The intensity with which he trains at such a high level not only inspires others but also elevates their performance. It rubs off on the entire team and helps improve them as well.”
While Kohli is not the only rival in the World Test Championship that has caught Hazlewood’s attention during their time at RCB, he also recognizes the talent of Mohammed Siraj, the in-form seamer who was his IPL teammate. Hazlewood acknowledges Siraj’s capabilities with the red ball, citing his outstanding performance as the leading wicket-taker for RCB in the recently concluded IPL season.
Although Hazlewood arrived at RCB later this year, he recognizes Siraj’s exceptional form. “He was on fire before I joined RCB this year. He consistently took wickets and maintained an impressive economy rate despite the challenges of bowling at Chinnaswamy, RCB’s home ground. His control and overall bowling prowess were remarkable.”
As the cricketing world eagerly awaits the World Test Championship Final, Hazlewood’s insights into Kohli’s work ethic and his appreciation for Siraj’s talent provide an intriguing perspective. The battle between these players will undoubtedly add excitement to the much-anticipated clash at The Oval from June 7th.